Okla. LEO charged with manslaughter in fatal OIS

Investigators said Officer Clifford Holman “fired three shots unnecessarily"

By Joseph Wilkinson
New York Daily News

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City police officer who fatally shot a Black man as he ran away holding a knife was charged Thursday with first-degree manslaughter.

Clifford Holman killed Bennie Edwards on Dec. 11, according to charging documents.

Holman, 36, and another officer, Keith Duroy, responded to a disturbance report in a north Oklahoma City parking lot, where witnesses said the 60-year-old Edwards was bothering customers, the documents said.

Duroy arrived first and called for backup after Edwards pulled a knife and refused to drop it, according to the documents. Holman arrived as backup and Tasered and pepper-sprayed Edwards, to little effect.

A bystander captured graphic video of the ensuing sequence, which is also described in the court documents.

Edwards ran toward the officers, who fired three gunshots. Edwards then turned and ran away from the officers. In the video, three more shots are heard, and the camera then pans to Edwards lying dead on the pavement.

Investigators said Holman “fired three shots unnecessarily at Mr. Edwards as he was running away.” An autopsy found Edwards was shot three times and grazed by two other bullets.

Oklahoma City residents gathered for three days after the shooting to protest Holman’s killing of Edwards.

Holman and Duroy were both immediately placed on paid leave, where Holman remains, the Oklahoman reported. Family and friends said Edwards battled mental illness and homelessness before he was killed.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed the first-degree manslaughter charge against Holman, which is punishable by four years to life in prison if convicted, according to the Oklahoman. The documents include an alternative lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter, which usually carries a two to four year sentence.

The local Fraternal Order of Police lodge stood by Holman, with union president John George saying, “Sgt. Holman upheld his duty and followed the law.”

Neither Holman nor Duroy had crisis intervention training, Oklahoma City police said after the shooting.

(c)2021 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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