FAIRFAX, Va. (DC News Now) — It’s been more than two months since 37-year-old Timothy Johnson was shot and killed by Fairfax County police near Tysons Corner Center after he was accused of stealing sunglasses.
On Tuesday, his family and their attorney are pushing for an indictment for the officer who fired the fatal shot.
Last month, a grand jury returned a no true bill, meaning Sgt. Wesley Shifflett, the veteran FCPD officer who shot and killed Johnson, would not be indicted of involuntary manslaughter or reckless handling of a firearm.
However, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano is set to impanel a special grand jury to probe the police shooting, opening up the possibility Shifflett gets indicted.
Melissa Johnson, Timothy’s mother, described the rally as having a different feel than previous ones because of the legal process.
“I think [Timothy] would be so happy and so pleased that we’re standing up for justice,” she told DC News Now in an interview following the rally. “We’re standing up for him.”
Johnson said she just wants a fair shake at the justice system.
“You don’t win the fight every time in the first three rounds, sometimes you have to go the distance,” she said.
Carl Crews, the family’s attorney, said he was told the special grand jury will convene in July. He’s feeling optimistic because, unlike the first grand jury, the second set of jurors can hear directly from Descano.
“He knows how we feel, and we know how he feels,” Crews told DC News Now. “So, he’s going to present the evidence truthfully and in an unbiased fashion to the grand jury.”
However, Shifflett’s attorney Caleb Kershner believes the case has been politicized.
“Quite frankly, I believe the commonwealth’s sort of on a witch hunt, so to speak, to try to charge a police officer,” Kershner said. “I think any reasonable person, any reasonable law enforcement officer, would see [what Shifflett did]. And that is: he had to make a split-second decision.”
Shifflett’s body-worn camera footage is sure to be key evidence in the case, which both sides believe will go their way.
“I believe that anyone hearing this evidence will indict,” Crews said.
Crews said at the rally that Judge Randy Bellows would preside over the special grand jury.