Oklahoma City, OK — An act of capital punishment caught on video was so excessive and over the top that five Oklahoma City police officers have been charged with first-degree manslaughter. A 15-year-old boy was complying with officers’ orders before all five cops opened fire on him, executing him in firing squad fashion.
The incident unfolded on Nov. 23, 2020, when police were called to a gas station over a report of a robbery in progress. The alleged suspect was 15-year-old Stavian Rodriguez. Until now, police ran with the narrative that Rodriguez was an armed threat. However, video proves this is not true.
When police arrived, the clerk managed to flee the store while locking Rodriguez inside. Officers had the gas station surrounded when Rodriguez climbed out of a window to comply with the officers’ orders to exit the building.
“Nobody has to get hurt, just show us your hands,” police say over the loudspeaker. Later the voice repeats, “Facedown, on the ground.”
As the video shows, when the boy walks into the parking lot, he puts his hands up, shows his waistband and is armed. Officers order the boy to drop the weapon and Rodriguez complies, going so far as to grab the pistol by the extended magazine to make sure officers knew he could not shoot at them.
After dropping the gun, officers yelled at the now-unarmed Rodriguez to comply with conflicting orders. In a probable cause affidavit from the Oklahoma County district attorney, authorities admitted the officers were “simultaneously giving him varying commands.”
Clearly confused, Rodriguez appears to reach his hand to his lower back to either pull up his pants or possibly empty his pockets. But he would never finish what he started because five officers opened fire on the boy and executed him like a firing squad.
He was unarmed and the only thing in his pockets was his cellphone.
“Stavian Rodriguez had no weapons other than the firearm, which he dropped prior to being shot,” the affidavit said. “A cellphone was recovered from the left rear pocket he had his hand in at the time he was shot.”
All five officers who fired shots — Officers Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton — face charges of first-degree manslaughter. Another officer, Sgt. Sarah Carli, was not charged because she fired a less-lethal round.
Disgustingly enough, John George, president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, defended the officers for executing the unarmed boy, claiming the officers, who were previously joking about the boy “calling his mom,” feared for their lives and made a “split second decision.”
“When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons,” George 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.”
Apparently George did not watch the same video as everyone else because it shows the boy actually did obey police commands before he was shot. Did they think this 15-year-old kid who just threw down his gun was some James Bond supervillain who had another gun tucked away in his back pocket? Or, did officers in the second most murderous department in the country simply pull the trigger because they could?
“The Oklahoma City Police Department has been perpetuating the murder of innocent and unarmed people for decades,” Rand Eddy, an attorney for the family said. “It has the second-highest per capita rate of killings in the nation. Of the many forms of justice Stavian and his family deserve, we hope to see an end to this senseless violence and tragedy in our community.”
Until the videos below were released, the police department went with the narrative that Rodriquez was a threat and refused to comply with the officers’ orders. Fortunately, unlike the Oklahoma City police department, the video does not lie.