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Idaho AG’s office reviewing Idaho Falls fatal officer involved shooting

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is now reviewing the investigation of an Idaho Falls Police officer who fatally shot a man in his own backyard.

The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force recently completed their investigation into the Feb. 8 officer-involved shooting, according to Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Clements. With the investigation complete, attorneys now have to determine if Idaho Falls Police officer Elias Cerdas was legally justified in shooting and killing Joseph “Joe” Johnson while law enforcement pursued a suspect who ran from a traffic stop near Johnson’s home.

RELATED | Officer killed man in backyard as police searched for suspect

Bonneville County Prosecutor Daniel Clark asked the Idaho Attorney Generals Office to review the case for unspecified reasons. EastIdahoNews.com obtained an agreement finalizing the request signed between Clark and Idaho Deputy Attorney General Colleen Zahn.

Joe Johnson GoFundMe

The agreement indicates Bonneville County will have no involvement in the case. It will be up to the AG’s office to investigate and prosecute the case if needed.

RELATED | GoFundMe page launched for family of Joe Johnson

If the AG’s office does decide criminal charges are warranted, then a draft document to appoint the AG’s office as a special prosecutor in the case will follow.

While the AG’s office is investigating the case, the county will still be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses, including costs for witnesses, subpoenas, lodging and travel done outside of a state-owned vehicle.

RELATED | Police release name of officer who fatally shot man in Idaho Falls

Little is known about the exact moments of the shooting. The Idaho Falls Police Department has said Johnson was wearing a black shirt — the same color as the suspect — when the officer pulled the trigger. Police have also said Johnson had a gun and that an officer told him to drop it.

Since the shooting Cerdas has been placed on administrative leave.

It is not exactly clear when the AG’s office will complete its review of the investigation. The process often takes weeks or months before any decision is made.

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