Family of Magdiel Sanchez calls for 'immediate arrest' of OKCPD officer

Magdiel Sanchez was shot and killed by an Oklahoma City Police Department officer Sept. 18. (Courtesy of the Sanchez family)

The family of a deaf man fatally shot by police has called for the "immediate arrest" of the officer involved.

The family of Magdiel Sanchez, through their attorneys, made the call in a statement Sept. 22.

"We are devastated by Magdiel's death and the fact it occurred at the hands of OKCPD even though he was not a suspect for any crime, was not breaking any laws, and was standing in his own front yard with his trust walking stick."

Sanchez was shot and killed Sept. 18 by Sgt. Christopher Barnes. Barnes and a fellow officer 'were responding to a hit and run crash that occurred at SE 57 and Stiles when they tracked down the vehicle to Sanchez's home. Magdiel's father was the man behind the wheel during the hit and run.

Police say that Sanchez continued to advance at the officers while holding the "pipe" and did not follow orders. Barnes fired his weapon after the other responding officer missed Sanchez with his taser. Sanchez died at the scene.

"Despite being totally deaf, non-verbal, and developmentally impaired, Magdiel was a familiar and welcomed member of his neighborhood. It is truly unconscionable that a man in Magdiel’s condition and circumstances would be killed by the very people who the community looks to for protection."

On Thursday, Oklahoma City Police Department Chief Bill Citty issued his condolences to the Sanchez family and said it was "impossible" for Sanchez to not know the men were police officers.

"Our family is appalled by OKC Police Chief Bill Citty’s rush to taint the investigation in his officer’s favor by making unfounded assertions not supported by facts. Citty’s public lack of respect for our family and the investigatory process, is proof that OKCPD cannot be trusted to investigate the killing of Magdiel."

The family is also asking for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice to complete independent investigations into Sanchez's death.

"In the meantime, we believe Bill Citty should spend less time making unfounded allegations, and more time figuring out what OKCPD’s policies and trainings causes a completely deaf and developmentally disabled man to get shot to death by his officers."

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