Brandon Johnson of Pompano Beach, Florida has come forward claiming that police shot him for no reason as he was napping in his car. The 21-year-old man is currently recovering from serious injuries including an embedded bullet in his shoulder, chest wounds, and the loss of three teeth plus an entry and exit wound through his chin. It is not clear whether he plans on filing a lawsuit or has retained a personal injury attorney.
According to the arrest report by Detective Andrea Penoyer Tianga (of Police Women of Broward County fame) and Detective Ron Miller, they were on patrol on Northeast 29th Street in Pompano Beach on March 8 when the incident occurred. The pair allegedly saw a suspicious Toyota echo parked on the street with “a black male in the driver’s seat… attempting to duck down in an effort not to be seen.” In response, the officers say that they pulled their SUV in front of the Toyota, switched on the police lights on the vehicle, exited and approached Johnson’s vehicle on foot.
Johnson, who was unarmed during the incident, claims that he was asleep in the driver’s seat of the vehicle at the time. He explained that he had left his home after he got into an argument with a housemate and had spent the night in the vehicle. Although the police report mentioned that the car was borrowed, it did not mention to whom the vehicle actually belonged.
Regardless, Johnson says that without warning, one of the deputies fired at him, shooting through his mouth. “They didn’t order me out of the car. As soon as she shot through the windshield and popped me in my mouth, I figured I didn’t have to stay there no more anyways,” Johnson told the press. “I put the thing in reverse and went over the speed bump and then I drove off with my head down. That’s when the glass started popping everywhere.”
The police report, in contrast, indicates that the officers fired after Johnson violently backed up towards them, hitting Penoyer Tianga and knocking her, uninjured, into a nearby parked vehicle.
The Broward Sheriff’s office forbids its deputies from intentionally obstructing an oncoming vehicle, saying that deputies must attempt to get out of a vehicles way instead of opening fire. The only case when a deputy can open fire on a vehicle, it stipulates, is if the shooting is necessary to stop the driver from killing or seriously injuring someone.
While Detectives Pienoyer Tianga and Miller claim that this was the case, Rosetta and Willie Green, Johnson’s aunt and uncle who have served as his guardians since childhood, told the press that they beg to differ. “The truth of the matter is, they were trying to kill him,” commented Willie Green. “We know Brandon wouldn’t attack the police. He was trying to get out of the line of fire,” added Rosetta Green.
Johnson is currently facing charges of cocaine possession, for which he is due in court soon. He told officials that the drug belonged to a friend of his. He has been convicted of cocaine possession three times and resisting an arrest with violence once.