Five Oklahoma City officers charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting of 15-year-old


Officers Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton, who were all charged, are currently on paid administrative leave, Dan Stewart of the Oklahoma City Police Department told CNN. The department was informed of the charges on Tuesday.

A sixth officer, who fired a less-lethal round, was not charged, the affidavit states.

The affidavit of probable cause filed by District Attorney David W. Prater alleges the officers “jointly, willfully, unlawfully and unnecessarily” killed the teenager “while resisting an attempt by the deceased to commit a crime or after such an attempt had failed.”

The incident dates to November 23, 2020, when officers were called to a report of an armed robbery at a gas station, according to the affidavit. The clerk fled the store during the robbery and locked the suspect inside by himself.

Numerous officers arrived, set up a perimeter around the building and issued commands over a loudspeaker for the suspect, Stavian Rodriguez, to exit the store, the document states. Video surveillance shows he then climbed out of the drive-through window, the affidavit states.

Body camera footage shows multiple Oklahoma City Police officers simultaneously giving him various commands. The document states that Rodriguez lifted his shirt to show his waistline, pulled a firearm from his pants with his left hand — holding it by his thumb and forefinger — and dropped the firearm on the ground.

He then put his left hand in his rear left pocket and his right hand at his front right pocket or waistline, the document states.

At that point, the officer who was not charged fired a 40 mm “less lethal” round that struck Rodriguez, the affidavit says. Officers Sears, Barton, Adams, Skuta and Pemberton all then “unnecessarily” fired lethal rounds at him, striking him 13 times, the document says.

Rodriguez had no other weapons on him; a cellphone was recovered from his back left pocket, the affidavit says.

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An Oklahoma City Police Department incident report said that Rodriguez “did not follow officers’ commands and was subsequently shot.” He died after he was transported to the OU Medical Center, the report states.

Bodycam footage from five of the officers provided to CNN by the police department did not show the actual shooting, but officers can be heard yelling for Rodriguez to show them his hands.

Surveillance footage released by the district attorney shows Rodriguez stepping out of the window and pulling a gun out of his waistband as officers were yelling for him to show them his hands and drop the gun. He appears to be putting his hand down on his left side, and officers opened fire on him seconds later.

The five officers charged have been on administrative leave since November, the report says.

“A loss of life is always a tragedy, and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly,” John George, president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement. “The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law.”

Attorneys have not been listed for the officers as of Wednesday. Currently, there are no dates set for the case.

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