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Oklahoma Police Kill Deaf Man Despite Being Told “He Can’t Hear”
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Summary: Oklahoma City police shot and killed a deaf man who was unable to understand their orders.

On Tuesday night, a deaf man was murdered by police in Oklahoma City. Witnesses said that the man could not hear their orders and that the police fired despite being warned that the man was disabled.

  
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The police said that the deaf man, Magdiel Sanchez, advanced on them with a metal pipe, according to NPR. Witnesses said that they yelled out that the man was deaf and could not hear them before shots were fired.

Officers were at Sanchez’s home after responding to a hit-and-run accident call, and a witness said that the driver had driven to Sanchez’s address. When police arrived, they saw Sanchez, 35, holding a metal pipe while standing on the porch.

Lt. Matthew Lindsey called for backup and Sgt. Christopher Barnes arrived on the scene. The police yelled at Sanchez to drop the pipe and get to the ground, and both men drew their weapons. Sanchez could not hear their orders so he walked towards the police, who fired.

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Sanchez was pronounced dead when Emergency Medical Services Authority arrived.

“In those situations, very volatile situations, when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision or you can really lock into just the person that has the weapon that’d be the threat against you,” Oklahoma City Police Chief B Mathews told reporters.



Witness Julio Rayos told The Oklahoma that he and others were yelling “He can’t hear” and that Sanchez had developmental disabilities and was unable to talk.

“The guy does movements,” Rayos said to The Oklahoman. “He don’t speak, he don’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.”

Another neighbor, Jolie Guebara, told The Associated Press that Sanchez carried a stick because there were stray dogs in the neighborhood.

Sgt. Barnes has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the department is investigating the killing as a criminal case. After the investigation is over, the results will be turned over to the Oklahoma City district attorney who will determine whether or not the shooting was justified.

Neither of the officers were wearing body cameras even though some of the OKC police are given them.

Police Chief Mathews said that Sanchez had no criminal history and that the hit-and-run involved Sanchez’s father.

According to the Oklahoma City Police Department, this is the fifth officer-involved shooting in the area in the past year. The Washington Post said that Sanchez is the 712th person to be killed by police this year.

What do you think of this tragedy? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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