Pompano man Brandon Johnson says he was napping in a car when Broward sheriff’s deputies shot him multiple times on March 8.
Last Updated: 16 hours and 36 minutes ago
Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel
“The truth of the matter is, they were trying to kill him,” said Willie Green, 60, who with his wife, Rosetta, are aunt and uncle to Johnson, 21, and became his legal guardians when he was a child. The Pompano Beach family says it wants accountability from the agency.
BSO says it cannot comment on the incident while an internal affairs investigation proceeds.
A complaint affidavit says Detective Ron Miller and Detective Andrea Penoyer Tianga, a “Police Women of Broward County” reality TV show star, were patrolling Pompano Beach in an unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe when they observed a “suspicious vehicle” backed into a parking space on Northeast 29th Street.
They observed “a black male in the driver’s seat,” “attempting to duck down in an effort not to be seen,” the report states. Miller pulled the SUV in front of Johnson’s car “to initiate a stop” and turned on police lights. The detectives, in tactical gear as part of a Metro Broward Drug Task Force sweep, approached from the driver’s side of Johnson’s car, the report states.
The deputies said they fired after the vehicle accelerated in an aggressive manner toward them.
Penoyer Tianga was struck in the leg by the Toyota and was knocked into a parked vehicle but did not sustain serious injuries, agency spokeswoman Dani Moschella said.
Johnson said the bullets started flying before he fled.
“They didn’t order me out of the car,” Johnson said. “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. 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.”
Johnson has a record that includes three convictions for cocaine possession, twice with intent to sell or distribute. As a juvenile, he resisted arrest with violence. He served about 18 months in jail, Assistant Public Defender Joanna Nagy said, and on March 24, he was charged by BSO with cocaine possession. Johnson was released on bond and said the drugs belonged to a friend.
Regardless of his past, Johnson and his parents say, he does not carry weapons and the circumstances surrounding his shooting did not warrant such firepower.
“We’re not trying to justify anything,” Rosetta Green said. “When Brandon is wrong, Brandon is wrong. We know Brandon wouldn’t attack the police. He was trying to get out of the line of fire.”
Johnson, who is unemployed, said he was out the night of March 7 and, because of conflict with a housemate, he slept in the car with windows up and air conditioning on.
Johnson lost three teeth when a deputy’s bullet entered his mouth and exited through the bottom of his chin. Chest wounds encircle his heart, an embedded bullet distorts the skin over his right shoulder blade and two weeks later, Johnson said, he was still coughing up blood.
Nagy said, “Police are saying the vehicle Brandon was in was suspicious. And what is suspicious about a black male sitting in a vehicle? He was shot repeatedly by police. It appears if you’re a young black male, a different standard applies.”
Johnson is the second person in five months fired at by a star of “Police Women of Broward County.” The other case, also in Pompano Beach, is still open and happened Sept. 28, 2011 when Deputy Erika Huerta fired at but missed an apparently unarmed felon who ran after she had pulled him over for a traffic stop. Reality show TV cameras were not filming during either incident, BSO says.
BSO prohibits deputies from firing warning shots or intentionally placing themselves in the path of an oncoming vehicle. Deputies must make every attempt to move from a vehicle’s path, rather than discharge a firearm at it and also cannot fire at a moving vehicle, unless the occupant is using deadly force, or shooting is needed to prevent death or serious bodily harm to a deputy or another person.
Johnson will be arraigned April 17 for the March 8 incident. If convicted, he could face 35 years in prison.