OKC Officers Not Charged Following Brutality Accusations

Wednesday, October 17th 2012, 10:16 pm
By: News 9

Prosecutors will not file charges against the Oklahoma City police officers accused of brutality in the high-profile Robin Howard case.

Howard died in police custody several months ago after officers used force on him during an arrest. Members of Howard's family believe there is a cover up, and they say their fight for justice continues.

Just two months ago, family members and friends protested outside Oklahoma City Police headquarters demanding answers and calling for the police chief's resignation. On Wednesday, they finally got some answers from District Attorney David Prater, but it's not the answers they were hoping to receive.

8/19/2012 Related Story: Robin Howard's Family Protests, Demands Chief's Resignation

"We feel [Howard] was beat to death," Howard's sister Kimberly Turner said. "That hasn't changed."

According to attorney David Slane, Prater told the family of Robin Howard the evidence does not justify charging the officers involved in the case. That news only deepens the family's suspicion of a cover up.

"The police were his judge … jury and executioners," Turner said.

Slane says Prater will draft a letter to Oklahoma City police officials concerning his decision. In that letter, Prater is expected to not go as far as to say the officers' actions were justified.

"There were eight days in which those police officers had all the time in the world to get together and make certain their stories all matched," Slane said.

8/14/2012 Related Story: Police Chief Apologizes To Family Of Man Who Died In Custody

Police say any suggestion of a cover up is nonsense.

"It's very unfortunate, but Mr. Howard's actions led up to this tragic chain of events," John George, president of the Oklahoma lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police said.

The FOP says Howard, a seven-time convicted felon, ran when they tried to pull him over. Then, force was used.

"During that struggle, [officers] were using approved academy techniques, and unfortunately his ribs did [break] during that struggle," George said.

Howard's broken ribs punctured his lungs, leading to his death. Since then, the family says the police department's lack of transparency and inconsistent statements are drawing concern and suspicion.

8/12/2012 Related Story: Family Looking For Answers After Man Dies Following Police Altercation

"Our beef is not with David Prater," Slane said. "Our beef is with the Oklahoma City Police Department. Why did Capt. Dexter Nelson tell us that the police officers used their hands and feet, if the report [states] all they did [were] knee strikes," Slane stated as a rhetorical question during a press conference Wednesday.

The FOP says two officers have been on leave during the investigation. Family members are considering asking the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate.

The family is gathering support from civil rights activists. Rev. Jesse Jackson is supporting the family and calling for justice.

An anonymous letter sent to Slane's home is raising some concern for the Howard family.

Read the letter.