Jury selection in murder trial for Oklahoma City police officer set to begin Monday

Keith Sweeney

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City police officer charged with second-degree murder is expected to be in court on Monday.

Sergeant Keith Sweeney was charged with second-degree murder in Dec. 2017 for the fatal shooting of an unarmed suicidal man identified as Dustin Pigeon. Sweeney and two other officers responded to Pigeon’s house at 1416 SW 20th Street on Nov. 15, 2017, after Pigeon called 911 saying he was going to kill himself.

One of the officers, Erik Howell, testified in court in Aug. 2018 recalling Pigeon had a bottle of lighter fluid and lighter in his hands. Howell said he appeared distressed and made a motion to dump the lighter fluid on himself, trying to set himself on fire. Howell said he did not feel danger towards himself, adding the other officer, Troy Nitzky, had a bean-bag shotgun as a less lethal option and used it on Pigeon.

Howell testified neither he or Nitzky drew their pistols because there was “no indication” Pigeon was going to harm him.

Body cam video played in court showed Sweeney approaching Pigeon with his gun drawn yelling, “Drop it!” and later shouting “I will f-ing shoot you! Get on the ground!” before shots were fired.

Sweeney shot Pigeon five times with his weapon and said he thought Pigeon was holding a knife.

Weeks after the incident, the district attorney’s office determined Sweeney’s use of deadly force was not justifiable.

Sweeney pleaded not guilty to the count of second-degree murder in Aug. 2018.

He is scheduled to be in court on Monday for jury selection in his trial.

The jury could also consider first-degree manslaughter in the case.

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