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CHP says they moved quickly to remove officer suspected of killing from contact with public

January 11, 2011 |  3:11 pm

California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday that they immediately removed a veteran officer from contact with the public when they learned last year that she was the subject of a criminal investigation into the death of her husband.

Tomiekia Johnson, 31, of Compton was arrested and charged Tuesday in connection with the February 2009 slaying of Marcus Lemons, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Johnson has been employed with the department since 2002, said CHP Sgt. Denise Joslin.  When CHP officials were initially notified about the criminal investigation, Johnson was immediately placed “in a non-enforcement administrative position,” Joslin said.

At the conclusion of the criminal investigation, and in conjunction with Tuesday’s arrest, the CHP immediately placed Johnson on administrative leave without pay, Joslin said.

Joslin said that the CHP is fully cooperating with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and district attorney’s office as the prosecution goes forward.

“These are very serious allegations and are being treated accordingly by CHP management,” Joslin said. “The department will not tolerate actions by any of its employees that violate the public trust and bring discredit to the organization, its time-honored traditions and its institutional values. This employee’s alleged actions should in no way reflect upon the thousands of hardworking, dedicated and professional men and women who make up this department.”

The officer had initially told sheriff’s homicide investigators that she retrieved a handgun and shot her husband once in the upper body after an argument erupted and he became verbally and physically abusive. Prosecutors say she intentionally shot her husband, a father of two.

The officer did not remain at the scene of the shooting but drove to her parents’ home and reported the killing from there. She was off duty at the time of the shooting and was not arrested.


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-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton