Victim Said to Run Toward Officer Brandishing Knife
The police department confirmed on Tuesday that the officers involved in the shooting death of a mentally ill Black man didn’t have crisis intervention training.
Bennie Edwards, 60, was killed during an incident that occurred recently.
Oklahoma City police officers said all officers are required to take annual mental health training, but that’s not the case regarding crisis intervention training.
Mr. Edwards was shot and killed after he ran towards an officer brandishing a knife.
His family said Mr. Edwards suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
“They could have gone about that a different way,” said Ameerah Gaines, the dead man’s niece.
“They could have deescalated that.”
In the Edwards case, a spokesman for the police department said, officers were called to a “disturbance situation,” as opposed to a call to deal with a mental health crisis.
The spokesman said “it’s always our goal to send crisis intervention-trained officers” to mental health crisis situations “when they are available.”
But the spokesman said only 25 percent of 628 officers who respond to 911 calls are certified crisis-intervention- intervention-trained policemen.
The police department spokesman said the two officers who fired the fatal shots weren’t crisis intervention certified.
He said crisis intervention training is voluntary and such training is limited.
The body cam video taken during the incident is expected to be released after the investigation is completed and after the district attorney’s office makes a decision.