The Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP) mourns the loss of yet another person of color at the hands of police. On August 29, 2021, Johnny Lee Perry II, a black man, was shot and killed by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department.Perry was a son, father, and fellow Montanan deserving of human dignity. Regardless of race, class, housing status, or state of mental health no one deserves to die at the hands of police. This was a tremendous loss to the community. Johnny Lee Perry II deserves transparent justice and accountability.
The media has released a booking photo to portray Perry as a criminal even though he was never prosecuted for a crime. This is an example of the continuous perpetuation of shameful stereotypes about BIPOC people. It also serves as a racist justification for his summary execution. Perry’s past incident has no bearing upon the incident which led to his death. The Missoula County Sherriff’s Office should have used their prior contact with Perry as evidence of the need for the local crisis response team.
MTREP is demanding the release of any dashcam or bodycam footage of the incident along with the names of the Missoula County Sheriff’s deputies involved in this shooting. MTREP also demands a full and transparent evaluation of the events leading to the death of Johnny Lee Perry II. BIPOC across Montana deserve justice, accountability, and freedom from discriminatory policing.