By Kevin “Coach” Collins
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson has likely never heard of Edward L. Johnson, a New York City Police Sergeant who was killed by an alcoholic psycho on a cold January day more than 54 years ago. But those who passed through the NYCPD Academy during the 1960s remember the story of how Sergeant Johnson died because it was part of the Firearms Training curriculum.
As the story goes, Sgt Johnson and his driver were called to a Bowery soup kitchen to back up a team of officers who were attempting to arrest a drunken, psychotic client who was using a 10 inch knife to threaten everyone in sight. As the supervisor, Johnson bravely stepped forward to confront the man. Immediately the psycho lunged at him. The Sergeant fired all six of his rounds, his driver did the same and the original team did as well. In all, 24 shots were fired from approximately seven feet. The attacker was hit 16 times and 4 of the wounds should have killed him instantly, but he still had the power to stab Johnson in the heart and kill him. The lesson from this attack is that those who are fueled by drugs and or alcohol sometimes don’t die immediately even when they sustain mortal wounds.
The story of how Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson suggests some parallels to the death of Sergeant Johnson. The fact that he was reportedly shot several times before succumbing to his wounds suggests that toxicology reports will reveal that Brown was high on something as well.
This could account for the multiple rounds Wilson had to fire to stop Brown from attacking him. It could also explain why Brown is reported to have “doubled back” to resume his attack on Wilson when anyone who was not under the influence of a substance would have run from the danger of Wilson’s bullets.
At this point we don’t know many facts about the shooting. But given what has come out so far, it seems possible that better firepower and a few more feet between the Officer and Brown might account for the difference between the stories of Police Officer Wilson and Sergeant Johnson. One can tell his story; one is now all but forgotten.