The former Texas police officer who is facing a murder charge for the shooting death of a teen is now accused of excluding details about his employment history when he applied for his position with the Farmers Branch, Texas, Police Department, WFAA-TV reports.
According to the report, Officer Ken Johnson later said that he thought the details were too old to disclose. The department was also reportedly satisfied with that explanation and recommended that he be hired.
Last year, when Johnson was applying for a position with the Farmers Branch force, a background investigator noted that he had left some details off of his application. Johnson had reportedly failed to consistently disclose two excessive-force complaints that were filed against him as an officer with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, where he spent nearly eight years as an officer.
Johnson was cleared of the complaints but did not list them in his Farmers Branch police history. He did, however, mention them in his Farmers Branch polygraph questionnaire. The background report also noted that Johnson told investigators that he applied for a position with the Mesquite, Texas, Police Department in 2013 but was rejected for “incomplete work history.”
“Investigator discovered Mesquite PD listed rejection as failed background, deception [and] incomplete application,” the Farmers Branch background report read, according to the news station. Johnson had also applied for a job with the Grand Prairie, Texas, Police Department in 2013 but was “rejected due to unknown reasons.”
When asked about the inconsistencies in his application, Johnson reportedly said that he "thought he [was] only supposed to go back 10 years, according to the email he received,” the Farmers Branch background investigator noted.
“Applicant was very forthcoming about the discrepancies,” the background investigator added. “He stated he had nothing to hide and knew that these would be discovered during the investigation, but again he thought he was just supposed to go back 10 years. Applicant apologized several times for this.
“Every place of employment has stated the applicant does an excellent job, that he is eligible for rehire or that they would be disappointed to see him leave,” the investigator continued, writing that the excessive-force complaints were “unfounded” and “were the result of the applicant attempting to remove a combative person from the train.”
The background investigator from Farmers Branch noted that when a suspect in that particular altercation was cut above the eye, Johnson “immediately notified a supervisor of the use of force incident and also called paramedics.”
The investigator also noted Johnson’s two commendations from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department for “lowering crime in his district” and “helping to apprehend suspects who fled and possibly had a weapon."
“I recommend this applicant move forward in the process toward being a peace officer for the city of Farmers Branch,” the background investigator concluded, calling the discrepancies “a result of miscommunication”: “I do not believe during the course of the investigation that these incidents are grounds for disqualification.”
Johnson is currently out on bond after being charged with murder and aggravated assault in the off-duty shooting of two teen boys earlier this month. Johnson accused the boys of trying to break into his vehicle at his apartment complex.
Johnson, who was dressed in plain clothes at the time, chased the teens, who were running away, in his personal vehicle. Surveillance footage, the news station notes, seems to show Johnson bumping into the back of the teens’ car with his own vehicle. Johnson has claimed that he feared for his life before firing at them. Jose Cruz, 16, was killed in the incident, while another juvenile, Edgar Rodgriguez, was injured.
According to WFAA-TV, Cruz’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson on Tuesday.
Read more at WFAA-TV.