Search warrants filed in officer-involved shooting case focus on social media accounts

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Court records filed in Oklahoma County court Wednesday show investigators filed search warrants for social media accounts of an Oklahoma City Police officer charged with shooting and killing a suicidal man last November.

Sgt. Keith Sweeney, 33, was charged last month with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 29-year-old Dustin Pigeon.

Oklahoma City Police went to the 1400 block of SW 20th on November 15 for reports of a person threatening suicide. When officers arrived on scene, they Pigeon in a nearby yard holding a lighter fluid bottle in his left hand and a lighter in his right hand.

Officials said Pigeon poured the lighter fluid on his body and was attempting to ignite the lighter when officers confronted him.

At one point during the confrontation, Officer Troy Nitzky fired one round from a bean bag gun at Pigeon. Around the same time, Sweeney fired his weapon multiple times at Pigeon, killing him.

Several weeks later, prosecutors determined Sweeney's use of deadly use of force was not justified and charged Sweeney on December 5 with second-degree manslaughter, or an alternate charge of first-degree manslaughter.

Two days later, investigators sent preservation requests to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

According to court records filed Wednesday, during the investigation, investigators learned of several social media accounts "administered and operated" by Sweeney and that the "postings and comments related to these pages are necessary to the continued investigation of the facts around this incident," wrote a detective in a search warrant affidavit.

The social media accounts -- related to an apparel business owned and operated by Sweeney -- have either since been deleted or made private.

News 4 reached out to Sweeney's attorney, Gary James, about the search warrant filings and deletion or privacy measures now in place on his client's social media accounts.

"What it is, is that potential jurors may have already started reading social media," James said when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon. "What a lawyer wants to do, especially in any potential high-profile case is -- it’s pretty standard -- is to control the information that gets out into the public, ahead of any trial."

Sweeney is currently out on bail, on GPS monitoring. James, his attorney, says his client is scheduled to be back in court later this month.

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