Court records reveal more information on Bennie Edwards, mental health expert explains how schizophrenia can affect people in crisis

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Court records show 60-year-old Bennie Edwards, the man shot and killed by police on Friday, had another run-in with police six years ago. 

According to court documents, he was charged in 2014 with stabbing a postal worker.

The documents say Edwards a transient, but told the worker to “get off his porch” while she was delivering mail, before he allegedly attacked her with a knife.

The case was eventually dismissed.

At memorial Saturday, people remember him differently.

“He’s selling flowers, picking up, he don’t leave the trash, he going to pick up the trash if he sees it,” Sincere Terry, who attended the memorial, said.

Credit: David A. Threatt

Edwards’ family says he struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which a mental health expert says that can make it harder for people to be in touch with reality.

“They may misinterpret a perceived threat to themselves when there is no threat, particularly in encountering police officer, it is not unusual for a person with schizophrenia to have even more fear and more anxiety and either run away or become combative thinking they have to defend their life when that’s not reality,” Britta Ostermeyer, OU Health Chair of Psychiatry, said.

“He was maced. He don’t know where he was running. He couldn’t even see,” Yolanda Meekins, memorial organizer, said.

Experts say mental illness should be treated like physical illnesses. 

“We need a general, a kind understanding that schizophrenia is an illness that diabetes or heart disease. The person, that patient needs the mental health provider, they need medication, they need therapy, they may need help with oversight,” Ostermeyer said. 

The involved officers are identified as MSgt. (28 years of service) and Sgt. Clifford Holman (7 years of service).

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