‘They did not need a conviction for my son to lose his life’ – mother of Stavian Rodriguez responds to manslaughter charges against OKCPD officers

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Thursday afternoon, Stavian Rodriguez’s mother, Cameo Holland, and her attorney, Rand Eddy, called a press conference downtown. Both are speaking out for the first time just 24 hours after charging documents and video were released of the killing of the 15-year-old robbery suspect.

They announced Thursday afternoon they will be filing a federal lawsuit against the city of Oklahoma City and making a settlement offer. 

The terms have yet to be disclosed. Eddy says more information will be coming next week. 
Both Holland and Eddy say they’re satisfied with the charges, but the work is not done. 

“Anyone that comes forward and says this is a justified death is defying truth,” Eddy said. 

Wednesday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater charged five Oklahoma City Police officers. Officers Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton face first-degree manslaughter for their parts in the Nov. 23, 2020, killing of Rodriguez. The sixth officer who shot at the teen, Sgt. Sarah Carli, was not charged because she fired a less lethal weapon. All five have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Oklahoma City Police Department officials.

Holland and Eddy want the officers charged to go to prison.

The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement:

“Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training. When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons.

A loss of life is always a tragedy and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly. The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law.”

OKLAHOMA CITY FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE

Eddy fired back Thursday after the OKC FOP announced that they stand with the officers.

He also says three pistols, a shot gun, and an AR-15 were used to kill the 15-year-old robbery suspect.

“They need to go to jail,” Holland said.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater called the officer’s actions “unnecessary”.

“We need to come forward and rebut those allegations that this case is justified,” Eddy said. “This was unjustified.”

image of stavian rodriguez
Stavian Rodriguez

Police say Rodriguez was robbing the Okie Express with a weapon when he barricaded himself inside the convenience store.

Newly released body camera footage shows the owner of the convenience store telling officers a man with a gun robbed his store, so he locked him inside.

Wednesday, the DA’s office released surveillance video and OKCPD released each of the officer’s body camera footage.

“What happened to Stavian was tragic, but no one knows who he really was,” Eddy said.

Surveillance video shows the 15-year-old crawling out the drive-thru window. Once he was out, the video shows him dropping his weapon on the ground in front of him.

Photo goes with story
Stavian Rodriguez as he drops a gun.

According to court documents, “He then puts his left hand in his rear left pocket and his right hand at his front right pocket or waistline.” Officers then opened fire. Stavian was shot 13 times, according to the Medical Examiner.

“Stavian was shot within 6 seconds after the window and 2 seconds after his gun lands on the ground,” Eddy said. 

Thursday, Stavian’s mother also revealed the events before the cameras were turned on on Nov. 23, 2020.

“He left my house without permission,” Holland said. “I had made a runaway report with Oklahoma County that was active at the time they murdered him. He was having some problems that a lot of teenage kids have, especially young boys that don’t have a father involved that just really got out of hand in a few months.”

All five officers charged are on paid administrative leave. 

“We are very satisfied with the charges of these officers,” Eddy said. “We will never quit.”

Eddy announced he and his client will be filing a federal lawsuit next week.

The attorney for the officers, Kyle Sweet, sent KFOR a statement Wednesday, reading, “We are proud to represent these officers and, with respect to the tragic loss of life, we strongly believe their use of force was justified, and we are ready to make that argument in a court of law.”

According to court documents, police did not find any other weapons on Stavian. They did recover a cell phone from one of his pockets.

“That last hour of those videos and that incident, that’s not who he was,” Holland said. “I don’t understand why OKCPD would need a conviction for them to lose their job. They did not need a conviction for my son to lose his life.”

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