OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Protesters arrived on scene and took to the streets Friday after an officer-involved shooting resulted in the death of a homeless black man who allegedly brandished a knife in Northwest Oklahoma City.
It was an emotional scene Friday afternoon at Pennsylvania Avenue and Hefner Road as demonstrators arrived at the location of an officer-involved shooting that caused the death of Bennie Edwards.
“You know it’s wrong,” said Austin Mack, one of the protesters. “When does it stop? When do we get justice?”
Mack was pepper sprayed as police tried to re-establish their line with scene tape.
“Where is the change?” Mack said.
Police said they arrived on scene Friday afternoon to a disturbance call from a local store. They also said Edwards had a knife in his hand.
“The subject actually came towards the officer and the officer backed away, called for backup, and actually called for less lethal support,” said Capt. Dan Stewart with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Police said after taking other measures, he didn’t drop the knife. Two of the three officers at the scene then opened fire, killing Edwards.
“We would like this situation to resolve with no force, we’d like for him to drop the knife and for us to take him into custody,” Stewart said. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t end that way.”
Edwards’ family spoke out after the incident.
“He wouldn’t harm a fly,” said Gregory Edwards, Bennie Edwards’ brother. “He’d be in this area selling flowers. He’s bipolar schizophrenic.”
“I’m tired of these police officers that are supposed to protect and serve feel like they have a badge and they can take lives,” said Bennie’s niece, Ameerah Gaines. “They could have went about that a whole different way; I’ve seen the video.”
Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene. The news of his death spread fast, as protesters arrived on scene shortly after.
“We’re not standing for this,” said Adriana Laws, a protester and founder of the collegiate freedom and justice coalition. “I’ve been out here for 7-8 months protesting, running an organization, fighting police brutality, fighting against the very thing that we just saw happen here today and we’re not standing for this anymore.”
The heated exchanges between protesters and police officers lasted for a few hours near Penn and Hefner. Later Friday night, protesters ended up at police headquarters, before marching down the street with chants ringing through the night.
Protesters said they plan to have another protest at 3 p.m. tomorrow near 36th Street and Lottie Avenue.
An officer was injured during the gunfire. Police confirmed that injury did not come from Edwards.
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