Oklahoma City, OK – Activists have already begun protesting the officer-involved shooting on Friday afternoon of a homeless man, even though there’s a video that shows he charged at them with a knife.
The incident occurred just after noon on Dec. 11 when police responded to a complaint for a homeless man on the sidewalk in front of Extra Cash Gold & Loan in the 2000-block of W. Hefner Road, KFOR reported.
Oklahoma City police said the business owner did not want the homeless man camped out in front of his business.
Officers responded to the business and quickly learned that the homeless man – later identified as Bennie Edwards – had a knife, KFOR reported.
They called for backup and once another officer arrived on the scene, they approached Edwards.
Oklahoma City police officials said the officers attempted to subdue Edwards using less-lethal measures, KFOR reported.
“They attempted to deescalate the situation in an effort to get the suspect to drop the knife,” the police department said in part. “Officers deployed a Taser and OC Spray, both of which were ineffective. The suspect refused to drop the knife and ran toward officers at which time officers discharged their firearms and shot the suspect.”
In reference to this afternoon's Officer-involved shooting, please see the attached statement. pic.twitter.com/b5CRpwiAxc
— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) December 11, 2020
A witness filmed a cell phone video of the final seconds of the officers’ encounter with Edwards and posted it to social media.
It’s important to note that the cell phone video of the incident began after police had already deployed both a Taser and pepper spray at Edwards to no avail.
The video showed that Edwards charged at the officers with a knife.
WARNING GRAPHIC⚠️- Homeless man shot and killed by Oklahoma City police while allegedly running with a knife; community members protest underway now.pic.twitter.com/0NShlTzszG
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) December 11, 2020
First, Edward lunged at the officer directly in front of him, and that officer opened fire.
Then the suspect quickly ducked to the left and went in the direction of a second officer, who had taken cover behind a police SUV, the video showed.
That officer also shot at Edwards.
A total of six shots can be heard in the video.
Authorities said Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene, KFOR reported.
Oklahoma City police said one officers sustained minor injuries but was expected to be okay.
Edwards’ family members and community activists gathered at the scene shortly after the shooting, KFOR reported.
OKC 👇🏼Rebecca reports police say officers tried non-lethal tactics such as pepper spray and tasers to deescalation the situation before ultimately having “no choice” but to shoot.
Police say the man charged officers with knife several times and was extremely threatening. https://t.co/3c8W7oaBnJ
— Tiffany Alaniz (@TiffanyAlaniz) December 11, 2020
Protesters said officers should have done more to de-escalate the situation rather than resorting to lethal force.
Edwards’ relatives told reporters at the scene that their relative had suffered from schizophrenia, KFOR reported.
Protesters clashed with officers at the scene after the shooting, but a larger protest has been planned for Friday night in front of Oklahoma City Police Department headquarters.
Details about a larger protester on Saturday are circulating on social media.
The shooting victim is identified as Bennie Edwards, who has a history of mental illness and was homeless. OKC Police tell @kfor they used lethal force after first deploying pepper spray and a taser on Edwards, who had a knife. https://t.co/zFEAAjotqr
— Tara (@tcblume) December 11, 2020
Despite clear video of Edwards charging at the officers, social media was wild with outrage over the shooting.
“Today OKCPD killed a man,” Nicole McAfee tweeted. “They killed a Black man. They killed a Black man in crisis, who was running away from them. We know this because, this time, we don’t have to wait for the body cam footage. It was caught on someone’s phone, as they sat in their car in the parking lot.”
THE OKLAHOMA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS SHOT AND KILLED A HOMELESS MAN ON THE NORTHSIDE OF THE CITY. DONT LET THEM SWEEP THIS SHIT UP UNDER THE RUG‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️@OKCPD YALL MFS AINT RIGHT‼️
— Hook💰 (@hunnitbandhook) December 11, 2020
All of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings, the Oklahoma City Police Department said in its statement.