Former student John Albers’ family settles wrongful death lawsuit against City of Overland Park and former police officer Clayton Jenison

After her son, John Albers, was shot and killed by an Overland Park Police Department officer as he was backing out of his family’s garage last January, Sheila Albers filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Overland Park and former officer, Clayton Jenison. Albers received $2.3 million in the settlement with the city.


Overland Park Police Department/ Facebook Live

District Attorney Steve Howe (left) and Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez (center) announced Feb. 20, 2018 the shooting of Blue Valley Northwest junior John Albers was justified.

Anna Cowden, Editor-in-chief

Just days shy of the one year anniversary of then BVNW junior John Alber’s death, the multi-jurisdictional civil lawsuit of John’s death has been settled. John’s mother, Sheila Albers, received 2.3 million dollars in the settlement from Overland Park’s insurance carrier, according to the settlement agreement given to BVNWnews from Overland Park’s communications manager Sean Reilly.

Albers released a statement Monday afternoon.

“John is forever gone and there is nothing that can ever excuse such an unreasonable use of force,” the statement said. “We can only hope this tragedy serves to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families.”

John was killed Jan. 20, 2018 as he was backing out of his family’s garage. Police were called to the Albers residence after friends of the 17-year-old said he was posting suicidal threats on social media. After police arrived, former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison and another officer didn’t try to communicate with John, despite being at the residence for several minutes, according to the lawsuit filed by Albers and her husband in April. Police dash-cam footage shows as the family’s garage door opened and John backed out, Jenison yelled “Stop!” three times before discharging his service weapon. John was shot 13 times and was killed instantly, the lawsuit stated.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez announced Feb. 20 the police shooting was justified. Jenison was not charged in the shooting. Donchez announced at the press conference Jenison resigned for personal reasons following the shooting.

Albers filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April against the City of Overland Park and former officer Jenison. The lawsuit stated Jenison was “acting under the color of state law,” meaning Jenison violated state law despite believing his actions were legal.

Jenison used excessive force in violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said.

John Albers was involved in soccer, track and field, wrestling and AVID at BVNW.

Following the settlement, the statement released by the family said Sheila will continue to work to create change in the community with the citizen advocacy group JOCO United. JOCO United was launched in August with the its mission to “fostering partnerships between law enforcement, government, and the community to improve safety, transparency, and mental health response.”

President of JOCO United and retired attorney Mark Schmid said he was escatic with the settlement because it allows the family to heal.

“It allows them to go forward with their lives,” Schmid said. “They’re never going to heal totally from John’s death but having the matter resolved is really going to be a help in that you don’t have that hanging over you for the next year or two years or whatever period of time it would take to resolve.”

The settlement shows, Schmid said, the city acknowledges the case was more than a “nuisance suit.”

“Regardless of whether they would deny it or not, it truly is an admission of liability on their part, the city knew very well that officer Jenison made many mistakes and again that’s one of the big reasons I am very happy that the settlement was announced.”

BVNWnews will be updating this story as it collects more information.