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2 former Oklahoma police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the fatal 2021 shooting of a Black man

By Raja Razek, Rebekah Riess and Amy Simonson, CNN

Two former Oklahoma police officers have been charged with first-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2021 fatal shooting of a Black man in Comanche County, according to a statement from District Attorney Kyle Cabelka.

Quadry Sanders was killed at a home on December 5, 2021, when Lawton Police Department officers responded to a call about a man in violation of a protective order and in possession of a firearm, according to the statement.

Once officers arrived at the home, “the suspect was identified as Quadry Sanders. Officers learned that Mr. Sanders was inside the home (…) and was refusing to let one of the residents leave,” the statement read. “Officers set up a perimeter around the house. A sergeant with the Lawton Police Department (LPD) then began giving Mr. Sanders orders using a PA system in a patrol vehicle. Shortly after commands were given, a female resident of the home exited.”

Sanders was later seen going out the back door of the home, and an officer gave “commands to show his hands, which he immediately complied with,” according to the DA.

“But then Mr. Sanders ran back into the home. Seconds later, Quadry Sanders walked out of the front door of the home. Mr. Sanders was met underneath a carport by Officers Robert Hinkle and Nathan Ronan,” the statement read.

Bodycam video released on May 6 shows one of the officers telling Sanders “hands, hands” and “down, down, down, down.”

Sanders’ hands were “clearly seen and the only item visible in his hands is a ball cap, which he transfers from his right hand to his left hand,” according to the statement.

Sanders can then be seen turning back towards what the DA described as the home’s front door.

“Mr. Sanders can be seen raising both of his hands in the air, above his head. At that time, Officer Hinkle shoots his firearm four times at Mr. Sanders. Mr. Sanders falls to the ground and appears to have been shot, at which time Officer Hinkle once again orders ‘hands, hands, hands,’ and to ‘quit reaching,'” the statement read.

“Sanders sits up from his back with his hands above his head at which time Officer Hinkle fires his firearm seven additional times. Simultaneously with these shots, Officer Ronan also fires his weapon at Mr. Sanders four times,” the statement read.

Sanders was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital, and no weapon was located on Sanders’ body or in the area where he was shot, according to the DA.

According to the autopsy report, the medical examiner listed Sanders’ cause of death “as multiple gunshot wounds.”

“There were twelve gunshot wounds observed on Mr. Sanders’ body (abdomen, groin area, legs, arm, and hand),” Cabelka’s statement said.

“After review of the entire case file presented by the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation), including the Medical Examiner’s Autopsy Report, the Comanche County District Attorney’s Office has made the determination that the shooting of Quadry Sanders was not justified. Officers Robert Hinkle and Nathan Ronan have been charged with First Degree Manslaughter,” the DA’s statement added.

Gary James, the attorney representing Hinkle and Ronan, told CNN Tuesday his clients entered not guilty pleas during their initial court appearance Friday. Hinkle and Ronan’s bail was set at $25,000 each, James said.

“These are very good guys and good police officers. Both of them are family men and college-degree people and officers, and Sgt. Ronan is in the military. Both guys have served their city and it’s an unfortunate situation any time there is a loss of human life,” James said.

“You can’t look at this short piece of video and make a judgment. There are so many facts that are relevant to this case,” James said, adding that both officers had been in that house many times.

“Sgt. Ronan had been in that house the night before due to a gun violation and Officer Hinkle had been in there 10 days before due to a violation … It was known to them as being related to violent actions,” James said. “Going into that situation, the information that my guys had was that there was a hostage situation with a gun, and they believed he was reaching for his weapon.”

James said Sanders’ hand was blocked and all officers saw was a black object coming out.

“That was when the first rounds were fired,” he said.

CNN has also reached out to Sanders’ family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, for comment.

On January 7, 2022, at the conclusion of the administrative investigation, City Manager Michael Cleghorn, “upon careful consideration,” terminated officers Nathan Ronan and Robert Hinkle, he told CNN in a statement.

Lawton Mayor Stan Booker released a statement Friday regarding the DA’s decision, saying, “The loss of life in our community is always a difficult matter to grasp. My thoughts and prayers go out to the parents and those in our community who lost a loved one in Quadry Sanders.”

“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,” he added.

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CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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