Outrage continues to build after an Oklahoma City police officer shot and killed a deaf man last week. Dozens of protesters marched from City Hall to police headquarters Sunday afternoon, calling for justice for Magdiel Sanchez, as well as better training.
The atmosphere was very tense, as the demonstrators yelled to the police inside, memorializing Sanchez and demanding a departmental shift.
Black Lives Matter OKC executive director Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson riled the crowd, yelling, “How many times are they going to change the story and try to justify that of which happens?”
Recalling the encounter between Sanchez and the two officers, Dickerson said, “They were not listening to the people that cried out and said he cannot hear you!”
“What situation are we in, my people, if those that are supposed to protect and serve are afraid of a stick?” Dickerson asked the crowd.
She added, “They use their power and their finger on a trigger to take us down one by one.”
The protesters also expanded their scope to remember disabled citizens killed by police in years past. Another speaker recounted the killing of Ma-Hi-Vist Goodblanket in 2013. She said, “The Cheyenne/Arapaho/Cherokee youth who was shot and killed in Custer County, and his mother called the police because she though that they would help her. She thought that they would help her, but instead they walked inside her front door and unleashed a series of bullets into the back of her son’s head.”
A small group of organizers went inside the police department during the protest, hoping for someone to come speak with the crowd. Their request was denied, but last week Chief Bill Citty admitted they will be working with the Oklahoma Association of the Deaf to further train the officers in the future.
Attendee Christi Dawson says, “I hope that our police department is looking deeply into what they can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Dickerson adds, “We’re simply hoping that it will raise awareness and it will foster and incite a real commitment to change.”
This week all commissioned officers are scheduled to train on interactions with the disabled and mentally ill.