There’s outrage in the law enforcement community after the woman who bought the gun used to kill Omaha Police Officer and Iowa native Kerrie Orozco earlier this year got what they consider a “wrist slap” in her sentence.
Jolita Johnson was sentenced to one year of probation, 180 days of home confinement and community service.
Sergeant John Wells, president of the Omaha Police Officers Association, calls this week’s sentence a travesty of justice.
Wells says, “If you catch somebody providing a gun to a criminal that is used in such a severe criminal act as murdering a police officer, by God, you make an example of them.” Johnson admitted to lying on the gun application and to giving the weapon to her boyfriend, a convicted felon. That boyfriend, Marcus Wheeler, was also killed in the shoot-out last May as officers tried to serve a warrant on him.
Officer Orozco was 29 and lived in Council Bluffs. She was a native of Walnut, Iowa. Sergeant Wells says the sentence given to Johnson was far too lenient. “It’s offensive to me that this resulted in a slap on the wrist,” Wells says. “You say we need more gun laws? How about you try enforcing the ones on the books.” For lying on the firearms purchase form and for giving the gun to her boyfriend, a criminal, Wells says Johnson should have been much more severely punished.
“One of the questions they ask is, ‘is this handgun for you?’ and if it is not, you’re guilty of a straw purchase,” Wells says. “You can buy a handgun and gift it to somebody but you better damn well know that they’re not a convicted felon.”
Orozco was the first female police officer to die in the line of duty in Omaha history. She and her husband had three children and Orozco was to have started maternity leave the day after the fatal shootings.