Prosecutor declines to charge officer in deaf man’s killing

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma prosecutor announced Friday he will not file criminal charges against a police officer in the September shooting death of a deaf man who was not following officer commands.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said his investigation determined the Sept. 19 shooting death of Magdiel Sanchez outside his south Oklahoma City home was justified.

Police have said officers who responded to a hit-and-run crash encountered Sanchez holding a metal pipe. An autopsy report shows Sanchez was hit with a stun gun and shot five times in the chest, pelvis and upper arm.

According to police, witnesses yelled “he can’t hear you” before the officers fired, but they didn’t hear them.

The shooting prompted protests from activists from groups including Black Lives Matter Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Association of the Deaf.

Family members of Sanchez had called for Barnes’ arrest and for state and federal investigations into the matter.

Sanchez’s family has said he was completely deaf, developmentally disabled, and that he used the pipe as a walking stick. The autopsy found no drugs or alcohol in Sanchez’s system.

Prater earlier this week charged an Oklahoma City police officer with second-degree murder for fatally shooting a suicidal man in a separate case.

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