Oklahoma City police shot dead a deaf man who refused to obey shouted orders to put down a "metal pipe". The tuesday night killing of Magdiel Sanchez, NPR reports, happened despite the officers being told he was deaf.
Officers were responding to a hit-and-run accident around 8:15 p.m., Capt. Bo Mathews, the police department's public information officer, told reporters Wednesday. A witness of the accident told police a vehicle involved went to a nearby address. Lt. Matthew Lindsey arrived at the address and encountered 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez, who was on the porch holding a 2-foot metal pipe with a leather loop in his right hand. Lindsey called for backup and Sgt. Christopher Barnes arrived.
"The witnesses also were yelling that this person, Mr. Sanchez, was deaf and could not hear. The officers didn't know this at the time," Mathews said. Both officers fired their weapons at the same time when Sanchez was about 15 feet away from them; more than one shot was fired, the police captain said. Emergency Medical Services Authority personnel pronounced Sanchez dead at the scene.
"Threat" is an interesting word. A man with a pipe standing 15 feet from you on his goddamn porch is maybe a "threat" to men armed with guns, but he's not a danger to them. But it's not really about threat or danger, except insafar as those things excuse other things.
It's about being trained to see yourself as a warrior at war with the public. It's about being trained to escalate to lethal force at the first sign of armed noncompliance. It's about being trained that lack of control justifies violence to take it irrespective of rights or risks. It's about having one of the safer public service jobs in America while maintaining the thrilling fantasy of danger. It's about being trained to expect the best sex of your life after you kill someone.
Update: What police called a "metal pipe" is also reported to be a walking stick.