He wasn't even involved in the crime
Everything that the police do these days is watched under a microscope. Thanks to many high-profile murders of citizens at the hands of police officers, people are finally raising awareness of what’s happening in the streets in the hopes that there will be a substantial change in the way officers interact with the citizens they protect and serve.
Progress is unfortunately slow at the organizational level, but the silver lining is that average citizens are speaking out about the issue more and more. From New York City to Ferguson and everywhere else, Americans aren’t taking the issue of police violence sitting down. Now, people in Oklahoma City are demanding answers after a deaf man was recently gunned down by a cop.
Police received several 911 calls about a bad hit-and-run accident that occurred in the Shields-Davis neighborhood of Oklahoma City, and a few units were dispatched to the area. A truck was struck on the side by a car, and the truck rolled-over completely to land back up-right. The truck managed to drive away, and it fled to the 200 block of Southeast 57th Street. A citizen followed the truck to a home where a man was casually sitting on the porch. Police soon arrived to confront the driver.
The man on the porch was 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez, the son of the driver. His father was still sitting in the truck in the driveway when police arrived, so it was pretty clear that Magdiel was not involved in the crash.
The first responding officer saw Magdiel on the porch holding a two-foot long pipe. The officer took out his Taser and began barking orders at Magdiel to drop the pipe. Not being able to understand what was happening, Magdiel proceeded to walk off the porch and wave the pipe at the cop. It’s been said that the deaf man used the pipe often as a communication tool. The neighbors knew this and attempted to tell the officer about it.
Neighbor Julio Rayos and his family saw the scene and ran toward the officer yelling, “Don’t kill him, he’s deaf. Don’t do it!” Several other neighbors tried to explain that Magdiel couldn’t understand what was going on, but less than a minute after the first officer pulled out his Taser, a second officer named Sgt. Christopher Barnes arrived and immediately shot at Magdiel.
The deaf man was killed by several gun shots on the scene. Mr. Julio said that he heard more than six shots, saying, “They seemed like they just came to shoot him. It happened so quickly.”
Doing Their Job
Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Capt. Bo Matthews explained that Sgt. Barnes is on paid administrative leave and the shooting is currently under investigation. Lt. Matthew Lindsey who only drew his Taser has stayed on the force with no disciplinary action. Capt. Matthews said about the incident, “You can get tunnel vision or just get locked in on the person with the weapon. I don’t know what the officers were thinking. They very well could not have heard everyone yelling around them.”
Oklahoma Police Chief Billy Citty explained that the officers should have known what to do for this man, but also that they were only following procedure. He stated, “In our training, if we have an officer that has the Taser, we have another officer with cover fire. We’ve had some training [in dealing with the deaf community] in 2013. We’re always open to new ways of dealing with the public[‘s] disabilities.”
The Sanchez family is not going to allow Magdiel’s death to be in vain. They’ve hired employment law and civil rights attorney Melvin C. Hall to represent them as they move forward with filing a lawsuit.
SHARE this story of police using lethal force and tell us what you think should happen in this case in the comments.