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5 Police Officers in Oklahoma Charged with Killing 15-Year-Old Robbery Suspect Who Put His Gun on the Ground


Charges were announced on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma against five police officers determined to have fired lethal rounds at 15-year-old robbery suspect Stavian Rodriguez. They were identified as Bethany SearsJared BartonCorey AdamsJohn Skuta, and Brad Pemberton, according to KOCO.

Sgt. Sarah Carli also allegedly fired a weapon during the Nov. 2020 incident, but this was a “less lethal” round, the District Attorney’s Office said. She was not charged.

Footage showed the moments leading up to the fatal shooting.

“No body has to get hurt,” said an officer on a sound system. “Show us your hands.”

Rodriguez could be seen climbing out of the Okie Gas Express. He lifted his sweater. With his right arm in the air, he used his left to take a gun from his waist, and put it on the ground.

“Don’t do that,” said an officer. Police yelled orders for him to get down on the ground. He then reached behind, apparently going for something in his back pocket. That’s when police opened fire.

Cops said they found a cellphone in Rodriguez’s back pocket. At the time, officers said they opened fire because he made furtive movements. Oklahoma Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon remarked bitterly on this.

The defendants each face a count of first-degree manslaughter.

Homicide is manslaughter in the first degree in the following cases:

1. When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor.

2. When perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide.

3. When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.

The local police union defended the officers who were charged. They emphasized the police point of view at the scene. Each of the defendants believed there was a threat.

“Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training,” OKC Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement provided to local outlets. “When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons.”

Rodriguez’s mother Cameo Holland plans to sue in federal court.

“Anybody who will come forth and say this is a lawful justified death is defying truth,” attorney Randy Eddy said, according to KOKH-TV in a Thursday report.

They announced their intention to make a settlement offer next week. They declined to talk about the specifics.

[Screengrab via KOCO]

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