“He can’t hear! He can’t hear!”
Those are the words that neighbors and witnesses said they continued to yell the night of September 19, 2017, when Oklahoma City Police shot and killed a deaf man on the southeast side of the city.
Police said the victim, 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez, was standing on a porch with a 2-foot pipe in his hand, and that he advanced on the officers and didn’t heed to their commands for him to drop the pipe.
“Myself and my daughter were actually screaming at him not, you know, that he was deaf, that he couldn’t hear anything. And, they proceeded on shooting him,” neighbor Julio Rayos told KFOR.
“The guy does movements. He don’t speak. He don’t hear. So, mainly, it’s hand movements that he does. That’s how we communicated with him. And, he was actually I believe he was trying to, he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on.”
Here are some other notable facts about this tragic case:
- Neighbors said Sanchez, who is not only deaf, but also mentally disabled, had never been aggressive with anyone.
- They said he walked up and down the street every day and lived with his parents and grandparents.
- Police were actually searching for Sanchez’ father when the fatal shooting happened. He was a suspect in a hit-and-run accident.
- Two officers were at the scene of the shooting, and both fired weapons at the same time. One of the officers, Sgt. Christopher Barnes, shot his gun, while the other officer, Lt. Matthew Lindsey, deployed his taser.
- The victim, Mr. Sanchez, died at the scene.
- Barnes, the officer who shot Sanchez, is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
- It will be up to the district attorney to decide whether either officer will face criminal charges.
- Neither police officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the deadly shooting.
Officer-involved shootings have been making headlines across the country for the past few years, prompting protests in cities where officers aren’t being charged criminally for the deaths.
The shooting of Magdiel Sanchez is also making national news, and it’s a case that’s likely to cause much controversy.
Cases like this bring up really tough questions about the use of force by police officers and overreaching of police authority.
That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced civil rights and criminal defense attorney on your side if you are ever on the wrong side of police brutality or involved with any police misconduct.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of police brutality, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for help.