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Idaho Falls officer’s deadly shooting case dismissed

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - A jury trial for Idaho Falls police officer Elias Cerdas has been dismissed.

District Judge Darren Simpson said the case against Cerdas will be dismissed with prejudice if he agreed to complete use of force training, firearm instruction and doing supervised patrols. In all, Cerdas will have to complete 100 hours of training within the next year. It was agreed upon between the attorneys on both sides.

The announcement came during the second day of his trial.

The city released this statement shortly after the announcement.

“The city recognizes the need to follow the judicial process and we appreciate the amount of time and effort put in by all parties to reach this outcome. We are grateful to have a resolution to this case.  We remain committed to best practices and providing the best training for our officers and will continue to do so as we move forward from here," City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Eric Grossarth said.

Cerdas was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Joseph Johnson.

In February 2021, Johnson was shot in his backyard by Cerdas when he was mistaken for a suspect they were searching for. They were looking for a violent felon whose GPS coordinates on his phone placed him in Johnson's yard. Police say Johnson was wearing a shirt matching the suspect's and was carrying a gun.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden released the following statement:

This case originated from a tragic series of events that ended with the death of a husband, father and community member. My heart continues to go out to Mr. Johnson’s family for the loss they’ve endured.

“Every day, Idaho law enforcement officers risk their own wellbeing to protect the public. By its nature, this work is dangerous and creates extremely difficult circumstances in which officers must make split-second decisions. This case reflects the difficulty of that work and magnifies what’s at stake when things go wrong.

“I want to thank the prosecutors and investigators in my office who thoughtfully and professionally pursued justice based on the Rule of Law. I want to thank the grand jury, trial court and jury for their willingness to give this case the attention it deserved. Finally, I want to acknowledge the work on both sides in reaching a resolution that helps ensure such a tragic scenario doesn’t play out again.”

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls
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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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