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Family members wait for answers after man’s death following Monona Police pursuit

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MONONA (WKOW) - Family members say they are waiting for answers to why Elliot Johnson died, after he was pursued by Monona Police earlier this month.

Wisconsin Department of Justice officials say Johnson, 24, was pursued by officers the evening of Sept. 17 after he drove erratically. They say he crashed in Madison, refused to cooperate and then was found dead in the car after a gun shot was heard. DOJ officials say no officer fired a gun.

Dane County's Medical Examiner said Friday the cause of Johnson's death remains under investigation.

Johnson's aunt, Darlene Johnson, says her nephew was not despondent, had six children and would not have committed suicide. "I don't think he shot himself," Johnson says of her nephew. "Everybody loved Elliott. Autopsy came back, they don't know what happened to him."

Johnson also says she's viewed a surveillance video from a property in the greater area of the incident. She says the video shows the car Elliot Johnson was driving being initially pursued by Monona Police without the squad car's lights on, and with Johnson's vehicle appearing to proceed normally. She says a pursuing officer ultimately turns the squad car's lights on.

"Looks like they were harassing him to me," Darlene Johnson says. Johnson says the video was provided to the DOJ.

Monona's police chief nor DOJ officials have commented on the video.

But a law enforcement source tells 27 News a Monona Police officer was doing speed enforcement on the Beltline and used radar to clock Elliot Johnson's vehicle at 86 miles per hour and saw Johnson nearly hit a semi-truck, initiating a pursuit.

Johnson's resistance to police after the crash involved a clash between an officer and Johnson, according to another person with knowledge of the incident. Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director Jim Palmer says the officer deployed a taser to try to control Johnson, but it failed to bring Johnson under control.

Darlene Johnson says Elliot Johnson's mother was unable to view her son's body until Monday. She says family members are having difficulty coming to grips with her nephew's death without knowledge of what caused it. "It's leaving us blank, no questions answered," she says. "It's a hurtful situation."

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Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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