An Oklahoma City police officer has been charged with first-degree manslaughter more than two months after a fatal police shooting.
Sergeant Clifford Holman and Master Sergeant Keith Duroy responded to a call last Dec. 11 near North Pennsylvania Avenue and West Hefner Road where Bennie Edwards, a homeless man who suffers from mental illness, was reportedly bothering customers outside of a store.
According to court documents, the first officer on scene called for backup when Edwards pulled out a knife.
When Holman arrived, records said he used his taser and pepper spray on Edwards multiple times with little effect.
When Edwards ran away from officers with a knife, Holman dropped his taser, pulled out a gun and “fired three shots unnecessarily at Edwards as he was running away."
The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police said it stands behind Holman.
"A loss of life is always a tragedy, but officers must be able to protect one another when de-escalation tactics are ineffective," the OKC FOP’s statement said in part.
Others said lethal force should have never been used and support the charge against Holman.
“I don’t want to say I’m pleased because I’m tired of having to make statements about the situations of deaths that come from the hands of police,” said T. Sheri Dickerson with Black Lives Matter OKC.
If Holman is convicted of manslaughter, he could face a minimum of four years in prison.
Holman remains on paid administrative leave. Duroy has not been charged.