Oklahoma County district attorney David Prater has officially charged an Oklahoma City police officer in the fatal shooting of an OKC man.
Prater informed the Oklahoma City Police Department Wednesday that he filed a first-degree manslaughter charge against Sgt. Clifford Holman in the shooting of 60-year-old Bennie Edwards.
Edwards, who was armed with a knife and suffered from a mental illness, was killed outside of a store last Dec. 11 near the intersection of West Hefner Road and North Pennsylvania Avenue.
Three days after the shooting, Oklahoma City police identified the officers involved as Holman and Master Sgt. Keith Duroy.
Prater told the district court in the affidavit that Holman "willfully, unlawfully and unnecessarily" killed Edwards.
Prater released a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“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.”
Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police president John George commented on the first-degree manslaughter charge against Holman.
The OKC FOP stands by Sgt. Holman, who followed his training when an armed suspect charged another officer. A loss of life is always a tragedy, but officers must be able to protect one another when de-escalation tactics are ineffective.
In this situation, when faced with a disturbed individual armed with a deadly weapon, our officers used multiple methods of de-escalation and less-lethal options to try to avoid the use of deadly force. When those efforts were ineffective, the officers were put in peril when they were charged by the armed person. We maintain that Sgt. Holman upheld his duty and followed the law.
We know these are trying times for Sgt. Holman and his family, and we’re here for them. The FOP thanks every officer who puts on a badge to protect and serve, despite this challenging environment.
The county's district attorney's office did not file charges against Duroy. OCPD said Holman remains on administrative leave.