Man Said Mentally Ill Killed in December
An Oklahoma City police officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a 60-year-old mentally ill Black man.
Sgt. Clifford Holman was charged with the felony Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, after the Dec. 11 shooting death of Bennie Edwards in the parking lot of a business near the 2100 block of W. Hefner Road.
If convicted, Sgt. Holman, who has seven years of service on the force, faces four years to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving at least 85 percent of the sentence.
District Attorney David Prater filed the charge himself, and also filed a second-degree manslaughter felony charge in the alternative, which ,typically, carries a two-to-four-year sentence.
“There are always many things to consider when determining whether or not an officer’s use of deadly force is lawfully justified or not,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “Any loss of human life is tragic and I take these decisions very seriously.”
Concerning the shooting, authorities said officers responded to a call of a man bothering customers outside a store. Authorities said Mr. Edwards threatened officers with a knife and they attempted to de-escalate the situation with pepper spray and a Taser.
Mr. Edwards “ran at the officer, and he had a knife, and the officer was forced to discharge his weapon,” Capt. Daniel Stewart said.
Mr. Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene.
Capt. Stewart issued a statement Thursday, saying the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office informed the Police department about the manslaughter charge on Wednesday of last week.
Sgt. Holman remains on paid administrative leave.
“The district attorney did not file charges against M Sgt. Keith Duroy for his involvement in the shooting,” Capt. Stewart said.
“All inquiries regarding this investigation should be directed to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office.”
In a probable cause affidavit, Bryn Carter, a homicide detective and 27-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, said he was assigned to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Det. Carter said in the affidavit that MSgt. Duroy, who has 28 years of service, first arrived on the scene and saw Mr. Edwards open a “folding style lock blade knife” in his right hand.
In 2011, MSgt. Duroy shot a 28-year-old man in the 8300 block of NW 10th Street.
At the time, police said the shooting occurred during an altercation with the man, following a domestic dispute call.
Facing Mr. Edwards, MSgt. Duroy called for backup, including an officer with a Taser.
Sgt. Clifford Holman, who is a certified Taser operator, arrived on the scene to assist with the situation.
Mr. Edwards told officers to leave, while holding the knife in his right hand and pointing it at officers as they were instructing him to drop it, according to the affidavit.
Sgt. Holman deployed his Taser at Mr. Edwards on two occasions and Mr. Edwards also was hit with pepper spray, “with little to no effect,” according to the affidavit.
After the second Taser deployment, Mr. Edwards charged toward MSgt. Duroy with the knife still in his right hand, before turning east, “running away from officers.”
“Sgt Clifford Holman dropped his Taser unit, drew his service weapon and fired three shots unnecessarily at Mr. Edwards as he was running away, striking him in his upper middle back, causing death,” Det. Carter said in the affidavit.