Two Lawton, Oklahoma cops were charged with first-degree manslaughter on Friday after they fatally shot an unarmed Black man who was complying with their orders to get on the ground and had his hands raised.
Comanche County District Attorney Kyle Cabelka said his office had determined that the shooting of Quadry Sanders by Officers Robert Hinkle and Nathan Ronan was unjustified “after review of the entire case file.”
Hinkle and Ronan responded to Sanders’ home just after 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 after a call about a man, who was subjected to a protective order, entering the home of a woman named in the order. The woman’s husband was also home at the time, officers could be heard saying on body-cam footage released Friday.
The footage shows the officers parked outside the woman’s house, trying to call her husband’s cell phone. One officer can be heard saying police have been called out to the address before, and the person inside has a handgun. A dispatcher then tells the officers that the husband said the person was getting ready to leave.
Cops used a loudspeaker to try to engage with Sanders, which appeared to work. Moments later, he emerged from a back door, prompting Hinkle to move towards him while repeatedly yelling “hands!” and “down!”
Sanders can then be seen on the body-cam taking a step backwards, partially concealing himself behind a refrigerator, while raising his hands. But the officer fires four shots—just seconds after Sanders had exited the house. Sanders was holding what appeared to be a white baseball cap.
Even as Sanders lay screaming on the ground, he tried to sit up and raise his hands again. The officer fired another seven times. It matched a medical examiner’s report, which said Sanders was shot 12 times.
Sanders was unarmed and didn’t have a weapon anywhere near him, but the officers nevertheless handcuffed him as he lay dying on the pavement.
Warning: Graphic footage
The Sanders family’s lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said in a statement that Quadry had a dispute with his girlfriend and the police were called.
“When they encountered Sanders they instructed him to put his hands up to which he complied,” Merritt wrote on Instagram. “While his hands were in the air Hinkle shot Sanders 4 times. When he dropped to the ground he was instructed to put his hands back [in] the air. When he did he was fired on 13 more times. This was murder. We must have justice.”
In a GoFundMe, Sanders’ family appealed for donations to help lay him to rest and “get his children out of state custody.”
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the parents and those in our community who lost a loved one in Quadry Sanders,” Lawton Mayor Stan Booker said in a statement.
“Although this decision and the releasing of information that followed may provide clarity to this tragic incident, it does not come without impacting one’s stages of grief and mourning of a lost loved one.”