Lawyer who talked down Maurice Hill is getting death threats

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia attorney who helped his former client surrender peacefully last week after shooting six police officers has received death threats. 

Shaka Johnson says not everyone is happy the alleged gunman, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, made it out alive after the hourslong standoff with police in Niceotwn.

“I’ve gotten death threats- you know,” Johnson said. “I had to have a conversation with my family…look, I am getting these threats,” he continued. 

Johnson made headlines last week when he assisted police negotiators in convincing Maurice Hill to put down his weapon and surrender. He had represented Hill on previous criminal cases and won. He says he believes that Hill, who served as a federal informant, had a mental breakdown.

“Never during any of those cases did he pick up a pistol and try to shoot it out with the cops. So you have to ask yourself was he in crisis…at least I asked myself was he in a mental health crisis,” Johnson said. 

Hill was taken into custody without incident, despite the fact that he fired several rounds on police for hours. 

“Some people feel that the message should have been sent if you resist violently in this particular way- we put you down…like a dog, we put you down,” Johnson said. 

In the past week Johnson say’s he has received emails, calls, letters and post cards in the mail.

“After the first one or two- I was like…ehhh….but after three or four– and now people are putting things in the U.S. Postal service and sending them to me. So I have the girls in the office now, they have to open things with gloves,” he said. 

Johnson, who’s a husband and father, is also a former prosecutor and Fulton County Georgia Police Officer. So he says he’s not nervous. “I’m SWAT trained,” he said. 

You can hear his reaction to Commissioner Richard Ross’ retirement, what Hill said to him from prison, plus the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arrival in America Saturday night at 9:30 and Sunday morning at 8:30 on this weekend’s Flashpoint.

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