An Oklahoma City officer charged in the deadly shooting of a suicidal man appeared in court on Monday.
Jury selection is underway in Oklahoma County for Sergeant Keith Sweeney’s second-degree murder trial.
Police officials said a trial like Sweeney’s has not happened in decades. An Oklahoma City police officer has not been on trial for an officer involved-shooting since the 1980s.
A number of potential jurors have already been dismissed from serving on Sweeney’s trial. Across the room from potential jurors sat the charged Oklahoma City officer.
Sweeney’s attorney has been anticipating the trial since the officer’s preliminary hearing when a fellow officer testified about the deadly shooting.
“I knew what all three officers on scene would say,” said Gary James, Sweeney’s attorney. “So, I have no qualms about trying it to a jury.”
The Oklahoma County District Attorney charged Sweeney with second-degree murder in December 2017 for the shooting death of 29-year-old Dustin Pigeon.
Sweeney and two other officers responded to Pigeon’s southwest Oklahoma City home in November 2017. Pigeon was holding a lighter and lighter fluid and threatening to kill himself.
Police released body camera footage of the deadly shooting. Officials said Sweeney was the only officer to draw a pistol and shoot at Pigeon five times, killing him. Sweeney told investigators he thought Pigeon was holding a knife.
Pigeon’s family was in court for Sweeney’s preliminary hearing but did not show up for jury selection. News 9 spoke to the man’s father the day after the deadly shooting.
“He went out and helped people,” said Boston Pigeon, victim’s father. “He just was not a mean man, he was not.”
The alternative charge in this case is manslaughter in the first-degree. Sweeney remains free on a $75,000 bond.