Oklahoma City police released bodycam footage late Friday afternoon of the moments leading up to the deadly police shooting of Bennie Edwards in the northwest part of the city.
It comes just one day after Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed one count of first-degree manslaughter against Oklahoma City Police Sergeant Clifford Holman.
Officers were dispatched to a pawn shop just after noon on December 11, 2020, near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Hefner Road. The officers were responding to reports that Bennie Edwards, 60, was bothering customers.
Edwards was armed with a knife and is seen on body camera video waving the knife at officers.
The first officer that responded asked dispatch for an officer armed with a taser.
Fifteen seconds after Holman arrives to the scene and opens his patrol car door, he deploys his taser. Exactly 10 seconds after the taser is used, Edwards is seen charging at officers.
An officer fires three shots at Edwards before Holman fires three shots into Edwards back as he was running away.
According to a report from the Medical Examiner’s Office, two bullets grazed Edwards right arm and thigh. Gunshot wounds were located on Edwards chest, abdomen and back.
According to court records, investigators said Holman “fired three shots unnecessarily at Mr. Edwards as he was running away striking him in his upper middle back causing his death.”
Police said they tried to use both pepper spray and a taser before opening fire.
Holman is seen in bodycam video checking Edwards’ pulse a minute and ten seconds following the shooting.
The police union said it stands by Holman.
Holman did a walk through at the Oklahoma County Detention Center Thursday. A judge set his bond at $25,000.
Edwards’ family attorney released this statement to News 9 Thursday:
“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 Attorney Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law. “The continued mistreatment of Black men at the hands of police officers is a national tragedy, and the decision to charge one of the officers reflects the gravity of the situation.”’
“Accountability is critical if we are ever to rebuild community trust in law enforcement. Officers must be held accountable when they use excessive force and operate outside the bounds of the law and violate a citizen’s fundamental constitutional rights,” said Antonio M. Romanucci, Founding Partner of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.”
Edwards’ family members are also speaking out.
“Our family is devastated by the tragic treatment my father received by police when what he really needed was medical assistance. But we take some comfort today in the fact that an officer will face his day in court so the truth of that horrible encounter can come out,” said Kimberle Thompson, Edwards’ daughter.
“As a Black man whose brother died during an encounter with police, it is difficult to express the hurt and damage this has done to our family. Unfortunately, there are many other Black families who have experienced the same tragedy. It has to stop,” said Greg Edwards, Edwards’ brother.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater released this statement to News 9 Thursday.
“There are always many things to consider when determining whether or not an officer’s use of deadly force is lawfully justified or not. Any loss of human life is tragic, and I take these decisions very seriously.”