OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One of the officers involved in the murder of Bennie Edwards last year he was charged with first-degree manslaughter. The indictment documents describe the actions of the Oklahoma City police sergeant. Clifford Holman as “unnecessary” and “without justifiable cause”.
On December 11, 2020, police were called to a pawn shop in northwest Oklahoma City because employees said Edwards was bothering customers.
Police said he had a knife that he refused to let go of when taking orders, even after receiving two shots and pepper spray.
The statement states that Edwards then ran towards one of the officers with the knife still in his hand and fled all three officers at the scene.
Clifford, a seven-year veteran at the Oklahoma City Police Department, drew his gun and “fired three shots at Mr. Edwards unnecessarily while he was running.”
In the cell phone video of the death, there were six shots heard in total.
Online publishing Nondoc obtained Edwards’ autopsy report, which shows that he suffered five gunshot wounds. Two scratched Edwards’ body, the others hit him in the chest, abdomen and back. Its cause of death is listed as “multiple gunshot wounds”.
Holman, who is also a major in the Oklahoma Army National Guard, was the only officer charged at the time.
His lawyer, Kyle Sweet, released a statement to KFOR that said: “We respect the headache that Mr. Edwards’s family is suffering, but we are convinced that Sergeant Holman acted legally and we are proud to represent him while we fight. against these charges in court. ”
Edwards’ family said he was living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Her daughter and brother released their own statements through their lawyers.
“Our family is devastated by the tragic treatment my father received from the police when what he really needed was medical assistance. But we take comfort today with the fact that an officer will face his day in court so that the truth of that horrible encounter can come to the surface, ”said Kimberle Thompson, Edwards’ daughter.
“As a black man whose brother died during a meeting with the police, it is difficult to express the pain and damage this has done to our family. Unfortunately, there are many other black families who have gone through the same tragedy. It has to stop, ”said Greg Edwards, Edwards’ brother.
His lawyers also released the following statement:
“Romanucci & Blandin, LLC and Ben Crump Law announce that one of the officers involved in the shooting death of Bennie Joe Edwards II in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will face a wrongful death charge. On December 11, 2020, Edwards was having a mental health episode in a parking lot and three police officers at the location were unable to provide the necessary assistance. The meeting ended with Edwards being electrocuted three times and shot five times, resulting in his death. An autopsy determined that multiple gunshot wounds were the cause of death, and the form of death was homicide. The 60-year-old had a health history that included bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Today, Oklahoma City District Attorney David Prater presented documents accusing the sergeant. Clifford Holman will be charged with manslaughter. The other two officers will not be charged at this time.
Oklahoma City officials need to take full responsibility for what happened to Bennie Edwards in that parking lot, and today’s manslaughter charge is an important step in that process, ”said Ben Crump attorney Ben Crump. “The constant mistreatment of black men at the hands of policemen is a national tragedy and the decision to accuse one of the policemen reflects the seriousness of the situation.”
Accountability is critical if we are to rebuild the community’s trust in law enforcement. Officers must be held accountable when they use excessive force and operate outside the limits of the law and violate the fundamental constitutional rights of the citizen, ”said Antonio M. Romanucci, founding partner of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.”
ROMANUCCI & BLANDIN, LLC AND BEN CRUMP LAW
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