5 officers face manslaughter charges in boy’s shooting death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Five Oklahoma City police officers will be charged with manslaughter in last November’s fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy, authorities said.

Stavian Rodriguez was shot by officers responding to reports of an attempted armed robbery at an Oklahoma City convenience store on Nov. 23. TV news video appears to show Rodriguez outside a gas station, dropping a gun. The boy raises his hands, then lowers them before being shot.

Oklahoma City police announced that five of the responding officers who discharged their weapons would be charged with manslaughter, though it wasn’t immediately clear if the charges had been filed.

The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office did not have an immediate response to the charges.

The officers facing charges are: Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton. A sixth officer, Sarah Carli, used a “less lethal” weapon and will not be charged, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the officers had attorneys who could speak on their behalf, but John George, president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, defended their actions.

“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,” he said. “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 have been on administrative leave since the shooting.Police also released the officers’ body camera footage after the boy’s mother sued for it last month.

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