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Five police officers charged with manslaughter over shooting of 15-year-old armed robbery suspect


Five Oklahoma police officers were charged with manslaughter Wednesday,10 March, in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old armed robbery suspect last year.

In November, Stavian Rodriguez was killed after officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at an Oklahoma City gas station, authorities said.

The owner of the gas station managed to leave and lock Rodriguez inside as officers surrounded the gas station, Rodriguez was shot after he climbed out the drive-thru window, police said.

Security camera footage released by the Oklahoma county district attorney’s office Wednesday shows Rodriguez emerge from the convenience store building as officers yell for him to show his hands, lay on the ground and drop his firearm. Rodriguez can be seen dropping a gun on the ground and reaching toward his back pocket before the officers open fire.

In the charging documents, district attorney David Prater claimed that the five officers ‘acted jointly, willfully, unlawfully and unnecessarily killed Stavian Rodriguez.’

Rodriguez had no other weapons besides the firearm that he dropped, according to the probable cause affidavit.

“A cellphone was recovered from the left rear pocket he had his hand in at the time he was shot,” it stated.

Rodriguez suffered from 13 gunshot wounds, according to the affidavit.

The officers who discharged their firearms during the incident were charged with first-degree manslaughter on Wednesday. They are Corey Adams, 28, Jared Barton, 33, Brad Pemberton, 31, Bethany Sears, 30, and John Skuta, 34.

All officers are currently on paid administrative leave.

A sixth officer, Sgt. Sarah Carli, who fired a ‘less-lethal weapon’ during the incident, was not charged, the Oklahoma City Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The department also released the body-worn camera footage from the November 23 incident from five of the officers on Wednesday. Rodriguez’s mother, Cameo Holland, had previously filed a lawsuit against the city demanding the release of the footage.

In the footage, an officer can be heard over a loudspeaker repeatedly telling Rodriguez to come out with his hands up as officers position themselves around the gas station.

After the shooting, Rodriguez is handcuffed while on the ground. A few minutes later, responding emergency medical technicians administer aid, Rodriguez was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The Oklahoma city police union defended the actions of the five officers facing manslaughter charges.

“Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training. When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons,” OKC fraternal order of Police President John George said in a statement

“A loss of life is always a tragedy and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly. The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law.”

The officers aren’t the only ones charged in Rodriguez’s death. Wyatt Cheatham, 17, an alleged accomplice in the robbery who was not at the gas station at the time of the shooting, was charged with first-degree murder in December.

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