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Officers not charged after suspect dies in custody


OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City family’s quest for justice after their loved one died in police custody comes up empty.

Robin Howard, 54, led police on a brief pursuit and scuffled with police before being taken into custody back in June.

Howard died days later at a local hospital.

Wednesday, the district attorney met with the family to talk about whether criminal charges will be filed against the officers involved in the arrest.

In the end, District Attorney David Prater decided not to file criminal charges.

Howard suffered broken ribs, a broken hand and collapsed lung during his car crash and scuffle with police.

Instead of going to jail, police took Howard to Southwest Integris Medical Center to be checked out, where he died unexpectedly four days later.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and found that severe trauma to Howard’s chest led to the pneumonia that killed him.

“We feel he was beat to death. More force was used than should have been,” Howard’s sister Kim Turner said.

Unfortunately, at the time family members were not notified for several days after his death.

The police chief has admitted his officers messed up by not notifying the family about the death properly but also defended his officers use of force.

Howard’s family sees it differently.

“I feel disappointed justice may not happen in this case,” Howard’s attorney David Slane said.

Even with no criminal charges, it is possible the Howard family could pursue the issue in civil court.

As of last week, the two officers involved in the arrest remained on restricted duty.