Oklahoma City police shoot and kill deaf man

By Matthew Taylor
22 September 2017

Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was sitting on his porch Tuesday night when he was approached by Lieutenant Matthew Lindsey of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Lindsey had received reports that a vehicle driven by Sanchez’s father had been involved in a hit-and-run accident earlier that night and had arrived at that address.

Lindsey claims that Sanchez, who is deaf and does not speak, was holding a two-foot length of metal pipe in his hand. Neighbors later told the media that Sanchez often carries the pipe to protect himself from the many stray dogs in the neighborhood.

A second police officer, Sergeant Christopher Barnes, arrived on the scene shortly after Lindsey. Together the two officers approached Sanchez. As the deaf man approached the officers to communicate with them they shouted at Sanchez to drop the pipe and lay on the ground, an order he obviously did not hear due to his disability.

Nearby neighbors who witnessed the confrontation yelled at the two cops that Sanchez was deaf and could not understand their orders.

At a reported distance of 15 feet, Lindsey shot Sanchez with a Taser, while Barnes opened fire with his gun, hitting Sanchez five to six times, according to witnesses.

Sanchez died on the scene. Lindsey and Barnes are white, Sanchez was Hispanic.

In a press release Wednesday, Captain Bo Matthews of the Oklahoma City Police told the media that the officers could not hear the neighbors shouting that Sanchez was deaf. Sanchez had no criminal record and was not in the vehicle with his father during the alleged hit-and-run, which police acknowledged was not serious and did not involve a pedestrian.

Julio Rayos, a neighbor of Sanchez’s who witnessed the shooting, told the Oklahoman what transpired: “As the police pulled up a couple of neighbors, me and my wife and my daughter were outside screaming at the cops not to shoot, because he was deaf, and they proceeded in doing what they did.

“The guy does movements, he doesn’t speak, he doesn’t hear, mainly it is hand movements. That’s how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on,” Rayos explained.

“As they got out of the car they drew their weapons. Myself and my daughter were screaming at the officers that he was deaf, that he could not hear anything, and they proceeded on, shooting him.”

Rayos disputed the police claims that they could not hear his neighbors’ pleas, “I believe they did hear me because one of them turned around and looked at me and they also had a neighbor who lived right across the street who was screaming at them. Also, I was approximately 25 to 30 feet away from them.”

Barnes has been put on paid leave but has not been charged with any crime. The killing of Sanchez is the fifth police shooting in Oklahoma City this year.

According to a database maintained by the Washington Post, Sanchez’s death marks the 712th police killing of 2017.

Officer who shot Georgia Tech student had no training in how to handle individuals with mental illness

The Georgia Bureau of investigation acknowledged Wednesday that the campus police officer who fired the fatal shot that killed a white 21-year-old Georgia Tech student, Scout Schultz, had not received any training on how to handle suspects with mental illness.

In a widely-viewed video, Schultz can be seen standing outside a parking garage on the university surrounded by several officers. Schultz, who identified as neither male nor female, has their hands at their sides and can be heard multiple times shouting at the officers, “Shoot me!” Schultz is seen slowly walking back and forth as police order the student to “drop the knife.”

As Schultz turned, Georgia Tech Police officer Tyler Beck, who is also white, opened fire, killing the young student with a single bullet to the heart.

In another video taken from the scene after the shooting, the alleged knife, a Leatherman-style multi-tool, can be seen on the ground. The blade of the tool is not extended, but fully folded into its casing.

The Washington Post reports that the 911 call that led to the killing was placed by Schultz. In the call Schultz told police there was “ a white male, with long blond hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip.”

Three suicide notes were found in the student’s room. Schultz, who had previously attempted suicide by hanging two years ago, had long suffered from anxiety and depression and had undergone counseling.

According to the Washington Post mental illness is a factor in approximately one-quarter of all police shootings. So far, at least 159 people with mental illness have been shot and killed by police in 2017.

Pittsburgh police caught on video beating restrained man

A video widely-circulated on Facebook shows police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania savagely beating a restrained man.

The officers claim that they were arresting another man on forgery charges at the time, when the man in question, Daniel Adelman, allegedly tried to interfere.

In the video, five police officers are surrounding the two men, who are both on their stomachs lying on the ground. Two police officers can be seen restraining Adelman, who is covering the back of his head with both hands, while a third officer assaults him. The officer punches Adelman eight times, slams his face into the ground three times, and then punches him another seven to eight times before handcuffing him.

Adelman was charged with obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest and public drunkenness. The 47-year-old man suffered a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder, and a possible concussion.

After being released, Adelman told the media that he witnessed the arrest of the other man, David Jones, outside of a concert and tried to assist the police. “I was smoking a cigarette and I see an officer with a suit on and then I see this other guy and I thought the officer in the suit was in trouble, so I went down there and, you know, and then all hell broke loose.”

The policeman seen striking the blows, Andrew Jacobs, has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation. The other four officers involved in the incident remain on active duty.

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