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Two Fired After Shooting Ends in Death of Black Man

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LAWTON—Two policemen who were removed from the Lawton police force following the shooting death of a Black man should get their jobs back, independent arbitors have found, The Black Chronicle has learned.

Through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, arbitrators found that Officer Robert Hinkle, who also is Black, and Officer Nathan Ronan acted reasonably when they shot and killed Quadry Sanders, 29, while responding to a call about an alleged protective order violation in late 2021.

“In the present case, Hinkle and Ronan believed that deadly force was necessary to deal with the threat that Sanders posed to their safety,” arbitrator Gary A. Anderson wrote in an opinion following grievance hearings.

“Therefore, they moved and acted quickly, because they believed that delay would endanger their lives.”

At around 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2021, officers responded to a 911 call on an alleged protective order violation in the 1800 block of NW Lincoln Avenue.

The caller reported Mr. Sanders waving a gun in the house and wouldn’t let a resident leave, according to authorities. 

Authorities said the officers requested that Mr. Sanders come out of the house. 

He exited the side of the house and then went back inside before coming out to the front, according to authorities.

During what authorities called a confrontation in front of the home, police fatally shot Mr. Sanders.

The Lawton Police Department turned the investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and also conducted its own administrative investigation into the fatal shooting.

On Jan. 7, 2022, City Manager Michael Cleghorn issued a statement that, “upon careful consideration,” Officers Hinkle and Ronan were fired from the police department.

“The actions of these officers were not in conformance with the Lawton Police Department’s well-established training protocols, policies, practices, customs or procedures,” City Manager Cleghorn said in the statement.

At first, investigations conclude shooting “was not justified.”

In May 2022, the city of Lawton released more than 23 minutes of police body camera footage.

Following a monthslong investigation by the OSBI, District Attorney Kyle Cabelka charged Officers Hinkle and Ronan in the death of Mr. Sanders.

Their manslaughter case is winding its way through Comanche County District Court.

Mr. Cabelka said in a statement the shooting of Mr. Sanders “was not justified”   and said no weapon was found on Mr. Sanders nor in the area where he was shot.

During an internal investigation, another officer said he saw the gun in the house–on a kitchen chair about 20 feet from where Mr. Sanders was shot.

Officers set up a perimeter around the house and a sergeant gave Mr. Sanders orders through a loudspeaker in a patrol vehicle, according to police.

Shortly after commands were given, a female resident of the home exited, according to Mr. Cabelka.

Mr. Sanders was seen going out of the back door of the home, it was said.

 When an officer gave Mr. Sanders commands to show his hands, he immediately complied, but then ran back into the home, Mr. Cabelka said.

Seconds later, Mr. Sanders walked out of the front door of the home and was confronted underneath a carport by Officers Hinkle and Ronan, the city manager continued.

According to the body camera footage, Officer Hinkle yelled, “Hands down….down….down!”

Then, Mr. Sanders appeared from around a refrigerator, his hands were visible and he appeared to be holding a ballcap, which he moved from his right hand to his left. 

Mr. Sanders then moved partially behind the refrigerator.

Officer Hinkle shot four times at Mr. Sanders, who appeared to have his right hand raised above his head before falling to the ground.

Officer Hinkle then yelled, “Down!….Hands!….Quit reaching.!”

Mr. Sanders then sat up with his hands above his head.

Officer Hinkle then fired seven more times.

Officer Roman also fired four times at Mr. Sanders, according to Mr. Cabelka, bringing the total of shots fired at Mr. Sanders to 15.

The officers ordered Mr. Sanders to roll over on his stomach,   he moaned and said:  “I’m down….I’m down…..I’m shot….I can’t breathe.”

Mr. Sanders died in an ambulance while being transported to a hospital, Mr. Cabelka said.

An autopsy report said Mr. Sanders was struck 12 times, including in the abdomen, groin area, legs, arm and hand.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Mina Woods, Mr. Sanders’ mother.

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court against Officers Hinkle and Roman and the city of Lawton.

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