Exclusive video: BPD releases body cam video of officer-involved shooting ruled ‘justified’

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Newly released body cam video shows what led up to a Burlington Police officer-involved shooting last year that the Vermont Attorney General this week ruled justified.

Thursday, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office said they finished their reviews of the officer-involved shooting and will not file any charges against Burlington Police Sgt. Simon Bombard.

Investigators said on Aug. 13, 2022, police responded to a call on Manhattan Drive where they found David Johnson holding a large knife and making statements about wanting to end his life. Police said they tried to de-escalate the situation, but Johnson charged at officers and Bombard shot him. Johnson was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg that was not life-threatening.

The shooting on August 13, 2022, involving Burlington Police Sgt. Simon Bombard was one of three officer-involved shootings in a span of less than 30 days -- all were deemed justified.

The tense moments when Sgt. Bombard confronted a knife-wielding David Johnson played out in broad daylight in the city’s Old North End.

Then, 20-year-old Johnson is suffering a mental health crisis. Officer Brock Marvin tries to de-escalate the situation -- it wasn’t his first interaction with Johnson.

Johnson, who was armed with a large kitchen knife, told officers that he wanted to end his life. The entire interaction only lasted around four minutes. After little warning, Johnson is seen charging at Officer Marvin. Sgt. Bombard fired his handgun, hitting Johnson in the left leg.

Vermont Attorney General Chrity Clark this week ruled the shooting justified. “I have a deep appreciation for law enforcement officers and the difficult jobs they do to protect Vermonters. Officer use-of-force cases are never easy, but the legal standard was met in this case,” Clark said in a statement.

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad says he agreed with the decision and continues to look at how to improve his department’s future responses. “We proceed with an internal review, see if there’s anything we can learn from the incident, anything we can see as lessons that we can take away from training, and then we’ll come up with a review that will be shared with the mayor as required by executive order and then will be shared with the police commission,” Murad said.

Johnson just days after the shooting pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. That case is still pending in court. Meanwhile, Sgt. Simon Bombard is no longer with the department.

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