North Texas

Fort Worth Police Officer in Shooting Trial Takes Stand in Self Defense

The jury heard emotional testimony Monday from a Fort Worth police officer on trial for shooting a man in the arm, back in 2015.

This is the first time a police officer has stood trial for shooting someone while on duty in Tarrant County, in at least 15 years.

Officer Courtney Johnson chose to take testify. He said he did not mean to shoot Craigory Adams and never pulled the trigger. But he also talked about fearing for his life that night.

A group of activists, meanwhile, called his actions reckless. They see this as police accountability on trial.

It was emotional from start to finish when Officer Courtney Johnson took the stand.

"You didn't intentionally shoot this man did you?" defense attorney Jim Lane asked. Officer Johnson replied, "No sir, I did not."

Johnson went step by step through the night of June 23, 2015, when he responded alone to a call that someone was banging on a neighbor's door with a knife. He pulled up to see Craigory Adams holding what turned out to be a large barbecue fork.

"The second I got out of the car, I started yelling to drop the knife," Officer Johnson testified.

When Adams eventually did drop it and then dropped to one knee, the fork was still in front of him within reach. Officer Johnson was telling him to turn away from it.

"What I'm sitting there thinking is he's trying to decide what he's going to do next,” Johnson said from the stand. “Is he going to pick up the knife, is he going to charge at me? Is he going to throw it to me?"

Johnson says he half-racked the shotgun as a warning and that's when a shot went off, hitting Adams in the arm. Johnson then rushed to help.

"Did you pull the trigger?" Lane asked. "No sir, I did not," Johnson replied.

But activists in the courtroom Monday say dash cam video tells the true story.

"No matter what they're saying, the video shows he dropped the fork and got on his knee, that is compliance," said activist Kyev Tatum.

And they say accident or not, a man was shot and the officer should be held accountable.

"For pulling out a shotgun for a knife fight, for taking the safeties off, for cocking it half-cocked, reckless, reckless, reckless and reckless," Tatum said.

Those activists included Jacqueline Craig, who was arrested along with her two teenage daughters after calling for help, in another recent and high-profile Fort Worth police incident.

The activists believe race was a factor in both cases. Adams testified last week that Officer Johnson used a racial slur before the shooting.

Testimony continues on Tuesday when prosecutors will cross-examine Officer Johnson.

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