No criminal charges against KCK officer in fatal shooting of DoorDash driver

Amaree’ya Henderson
Amaree’ya Henderson(Family photo)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 3:00 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - The Wyandotte County District Attorney has announced there will be no criminal charges against a police officer who shot and killed Amaree’ya Henderson during a traffic stop on April 26.

The officer involved was with the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department.

“Under Kansas law, an officer may use deadly force if he or she is in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death. At the time the officer discharged his weapons, the suspect was driving the car at a high rate of speed while the officer was stuck between the door and the driver’s compartment. While holding on to the moving vehicle the officer told the suspect to stop. The suspect continued to drive at a high rate of speed. The suspect refused commands to stop the vehicle and the officer discharged his weapon.”

Henderson was afraid of the police, according to the family’s attorney, due to a previous interaction with a different department. He asked his girlfriend in the car to FaceTime his mother during the traffic stop.

Henderson’s mother heard the gunshot while driving to the scene.

The family’s attorney openly questioned how an unarmed man could be shot and killed at a traffic stop.

The media release from the DA also states Henderson’s family and attorneys have been able to review the video footage which is their right under Kansas law.

The attorney representing Henderson’s family released the following lengthy statement:

“The Wyandotte District Attorney’s Office has refused to file charges against Officer [Redacted] in the murder of Amaree’ya Henderson, an unarmed DoorDash driver who was shot and killed by Kansas City Kansas Police on April 26, 2023, while trying to earn money for his rent.

Attorneys for Henderson’s mother, Pauletta Johnson, and his girlfriend, Shakira Hill, believe the decision fails to factor in all of the circumstances surrounding [Redacted]’s traffic stop.

[Redacted] was in no danger. He made choices that were in direct violation of the use of force policies in place to protect citizens and himself.’

Officer [Redacted] was not in the path of the vehicle.

Kansas City Kansas Police Department’s Use of Force Policy states:

  • An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle should move out of its path, if possible.
  • Officers may fire at a driver using a vehicle as a weapon when the officer is not reasonably able to move out of its path or when the vehicle is being used to assault another person who does not appear able to escape the vehicular assault.

‘Officer [Redacted] was not threatened, and was not in the path of the vehicle,’ said Attorney Nuru Witherspoon on behalf of Henderson’s family. ‘In fact, he put himself in harm’s way by hopping onto the frame of the vehicle.’

Amaree’ya Henderson’s car travels for 220 to 250 feet before it strikes a parked vehicle after he is shot in the face and torso at close range.

‘We believe that Amaree’ya was trying to get to a safer, more well-lit location,’ said Attorney Kay Harper Williams on behalf of Henderson’s family.

  • Amaree’ya Henderson’s car travels for 220 to 250 feet before it strikes a parked vehicle after he is shot in the face and torso at close range.

Lawyers for the family cite the unreasonable force and failure to deescalate in violation of Amaree’ya Henderson’s civil rights and of KCKPD’s own use of force policies.

‘The body cam shows a disgusting display of excessive force, and the unlawful, unnecessary killing of another young, unarmed black man,’ said Attorney Nuru Witherspoon.

Release of footage is up to the discretion of KCKPD Chief Karl Oakman. The footage shown to the family and attorneys was redacted.

‘The police department has the ability to release the footage to the public, now that the investigation is closed,’ said Atty. Kay Harper Williams. ‘Pauletta Johnson said it best. If there is nothing to hide, then KCKPD should release the full, unredacted video to the public.’”