Blackwell, OK – A small group of protesters staged a demonstration outside Blackwell City Hall on Thursday to express their discontent that a police lieutenant who fatally shot an active shooter last year is being allowed to work as a dispatcher.
Godsey allegedly opened fire on her mother, an innocent bystander, and multiple officers prior to the fatal shooting.
An independent internal affairs committee cleared him of any wrongdoing, but on Nov. 21, 2019, a grand jury determined that Lt. Mitchell engaged in “imminently dangerous conduct” towards Godsey without excusable or justifiable cause by firing approximately 60 rounds during the gun battle, The Oklahoman reported.
He was originally charged with second-degree murder, which was later amended to the first-degree manslaughter charge, KFOR reported.
Lt. Mitchell was placed on paid administrative leave in the wake of the shooting, and remained on that status until Blackwell City Manager Janet Smith decided to reassign him to the dispatch position.
“I felt very good about putting him in that position,” Smith told KFOR. “Whenever our officers are not at work and we’re still paying them, then we get into overtime hours and there’s a lot more expense that goes into it…I felt that it was very important for me to fill a position and fill it with someone who had the skillset that was necessary.”
Protest organizer Stacy Bergman told the news outlet that she and her fellow demonstrators “poignantly asked” the city “to reconsider” allowing Lt. Mitchell to work as a dispatcher while the case against him is pending.
“Even though we’re standing silently, we’re just basically stating that we’re not in agreeance with that,” Bergman told KFOR. “If Michael’s mom needs the police, and she calls up here during certain hours, the man who is accused of manslaughter against her daughter is going to answer the phone.”
Bergman and her fellow six protesters said that Lt. Mitchell should not be allowed to work for BPD in any capacity due to the charge against him.
“If it were my daughter who was in this situation, how would I feel about Mr. Mitchell working until he’s had his day in court?” she asked KFOR. “At this point, I just think it’s a difference of opinion.”
Lt. Mitchell has asked for the case against him to be dismissed.
The court is expected to make a decision on his request on July 14, KFOR reported.
The chain of events that led to the officer-involved shooting began at approximately 3 a.m., when Blackwell police received reports that someone was firing a gun in the 1300-block of South Main, KFOR reported.
At least one of the rounds had struck a vehicle.
While officers responded to the scene, the dispatch center received additional calls that someone in a white pickup was firing rounds at several locations around Blackwell.
Dashcam footage showed a Blackwell police officer as he arrived in the area and stopped to ask a woman if she had heard any gunfire.
She confirmed that she heard gunshots about two minutes prior.
“She’s got a gun,” the woman warned the officer, referring to a woman she had been trying to speak with before he pulled up.
“Did she fire it?” the officer asked.
“Yeah,” the woman responded.
She then asked the officer to “please back up and get behind us,” the video showed.
“I don’t want her to…” the woman added, her voice trailing off.
Just then, the armed woman she was talking about – later identified as Godsey – ordered the officer to “get to where I can see you,” the video showed.
As the officer calmly radioed for additional units, a shot rang out.
The officer drew his weapon as the female witness repeatedly told him to “get down.”
“She was going to shoot me earlier,” the witness warned him.
The officer yelled to Godsey to put her gun down, but she refused.
“You first!” she retorted. “You need to get back in your car. Let me get on down the road…You ain’t putting me in jail, bubba.”
The officer repeatedly tried to speak with Godsey to convince her to drop her weapon as he simultaneously tried to get the second woman to drive away to safety.
“I don’t want to move,” the witness told him. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Don’t worry about me,” he assured her.
During the standoff that ensued, the officer tried desperately to calm the armed woman and to convince her to surrender.
“You don’t want to do this,” he said.
“Oh yes I do!” she responded. “Because you guys suck.”
Godsey, who was inside the white Ford F-150 pickup, opened fire a moment later, the video showed.
“I’ve got a house with kids for my backstop,” the officer radioed.
“Alright, I ain’t got time for this,” Godsey finally declared as she started the pickup’s ignition.
Additional shots rang out as the suspect sped away from the scene.
The officer confirmed that he “exchanged two rounds with her,” and that she was carrying a black, semi-automatic handgun.
Blackwell Police Corporal Keith Denton, the officer Godsey shot at, testified during Lt. Mitchell’s preliminary hearing in February, KFOR reported.
Cpl. Denton confirmed that Godsey pointed a gun at him during their tense encounter.
“It entered into my mind that this is the night I could lose my life,” he testified.
Godsey led the officer on a low-speed chase as additional officers raced to the area.
The shooter fired multiple more rounds as at least one other patrol vehicle joined the chase.
Moments later, Lt. Mitchell discharged his AR-15 through his windshield, aiming at the back of Godsey’s vehicle, KWTV reported.
He fired multiple additional rounds before and after Godsey finally brought the pickup to a stop.
After ensuring that his fellow officers had “armor,” and “a fresh mag in their gun,” the lieutenant approached the suspect vehicle and confirmed that Godsey was down.
They immediately radioed for an ambulance.
The shooter’s handgun was found on the center console of the pickup.
The Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has blasted District Attorney Jason Hicks for withholding evidence about the suspect’s bullet holes in the officer’s vehicle while he was presenting the case to a grand jury.
FOP President Jason Smith noted that the mainstream media is ignoring the fact that officers were responding to a report of a suspect who was “shooting and hitting multiple targets around town.”
“An innocent bystander driving on the streets of Blackwell came under fire at the hands of this woman,” he added. “She fired on his car with him in it. He escaped only by leaving his vehicle and hiding when he called for police to respond.”
Godsey also shot at her own mother before she opened fire on police, the FOP president noted.
An independent internal affairs committee and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation quickly cleared Lt. Mitchell and the other officers present of any wrongdoing in the officer-involved shooting, The Oklahoman reported.
The union president complained that the district attorney, however, wasn’t as quick to make up his mind and waited seven months before he presented evidence to a grand jury.
“A 15-man department has been minus three officers for months because the DA waited seven months while he tried to decide what he wanted to do,” Jason Smith ranted. “He left out so much key evidence out of the indictment and I believe that was because he wanted to get that indictment.”
“I’ve yet to see in American history when an active shooter was taken out by a police officer or civilian who was then charged with murder – murder isn’t defined by that in America,” Jason Smith told The Police Tribune.
Smith called Lt. Mitchell the perfect example of a “good lawman,” but instead of holding him up as deserving of praise, they’re trying to make a bad example out of him.
“Instead of the heroism award he should have gotten for putting his life between the public and an active shooter, Lt. Mitchell received an indictment for murder,” he said, sounding disgusted.
“They’re trying to spin it – Lt. Mitchell didn’t do what he did to grandstand and get into a shootout,” Smith told The Police Tribune. “He did it to protect his fellow officers. He put his body and his car between the shooter and other officers and the public.”
The FOP leader told The Police Tribune that Hicks was just another example of a district attorney trying to make a name for himself.
“They’re not holding officers accountable to the law – they’re holding them above the law,” Smith said. “It’s not fair to the men and women who serve and it’s not fair to the public either. Some DAs are taking that blindfold off of Lady Justice and tipping the scales to an unreasonable nature and it’s costing officers their lives.”