A Oklahoma City officer shot a death homeless man in December has been charged with first-degree manslaughter. The shooting took place last year on Dec. 11, when Bennie Edwards, a 60 year-old homeless man died after Sgt. Clifford Holman, 36, shot him in the back multiple times as he ran away. The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police has defended Holman, however, the criminal charges filed this week, said in a statement, the officer “upheld his duty and followed the law.”
Bryn Carter, a homicide detective with the Oklahoma City Police Department says the altercation started when Sgt. Keith Duroy arrived on the scene at around 11:30 a.m. in response to a report of a man bothering customers at a convenience store. Duroy saw that Edwards had a “flooding style lock blade knife” in his right hand. Edwards was known by the community and suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to his family.
Duroy called for backup, including a unit with a Taser, and Holman who is a certified Taser operator, arrived on the scene.
In a probable cause affidavit, Carter said Edwards pointed the knife at officers, telling them to leave and ignoring orders to drop the weapon.
Holman deployed the Taser twice although it was ineffective, and the pepper spray Edwards was hit with also had “little to no effect,” the affidavit claims. 3Following the second Taser deployment, Edwards charged at Duroy with the knife in his hand, then turned east and ran away from officers.
“Sgt. Clifford Holman dropped his Taser unit, drew his service weapon and fired three shots unnecessarily at Mr. Edwards as he was running away, striking him in his upper middle back, causing his death,” court documents stated. Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene.
Footage of the shooting taken by a witness has been shared to social media. All officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.