OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna is requesting the convening of a grand jury to investigate officer involved shootings. In court documents filed this week, she specifically mentions the recent shooting during a late August Del City High School football game.
“Any time that there is an officer involved shooting where a death results, those cases are going to be presented and investigated by the grand jury,” Behenna said back in late July.
That comment from Behenna dates back to a news conference in late July where she announced charges would be dropped against officers in three high profile officer involved shooting cases.
“I feel confident in the grand jury process that we can do a thorough review of the case and make decisions again that are evidence based and consistent with the law in Oklahoma without prejudice,” she said in July.
Almost two months later, Behenna is acting on the above comments. New court filings this week show a request for an Oklahoma County grand jury to convene and investigate officer involved shootings in Oklahoma County.
“The grand jury is not obligated or does not have the opportunity to investigate whatever it wants to. Its focus has to be very narrow,” attorney Ed Blau said.
One case specifically mentioned was the shooting at a Del City High School football game back in late August. A teen was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing another at that that game and two others were shot including 43-year-old Demetrize Carter. He was shot in the chest by an off duty Del City officer. At the time, officials said the officer perceived a threat, forcing him to fire his gun. But an attorney for Carter said he was targeted.
“He was breaking up this fight when an officer approached him. He put his hands up and he even said the words, ‘don’t shoot. I’m here to help’,” attorney Billy Clark said.
The officer’s attorney, Gary James, argues otherwise as the case now appears to be going before a grand jury.
“I will challenge him to show me any evidence that Demetrize Carter raised his hand and said, ‘Don’t shoot,'” attorney Gary James said.
We did reach out to James for an updated comment on the district attorney’s request. As of the production of this story, we have not heard back.
We received a statement from Clark Friday morning.
We are very pleased to receive reports that DA Behenna has decided to submit the case involving the Del City Officer who shot my client, Mr. Demetrize Carter, to the Grand Jury. Our belief since this incident happened is that this particular Del City Officer acted in a manner that was not only unprofessional, but also criminal in nature. A general rule of thumb is and should be: Shooting a gun and severely wounding an innocent, non-threatening, and unarmed citizen is grossly wrong and those that do it should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law—this includes a police officer!
All of the citizens of Oklahoma County deserve to be safe, they deserve to be respected, and they deserve to be protected under the laws of the Oklahoma and United States Constitutions. Demetrize Carter did not feel safe—because he wasn’t safe. No respect was given to him as a citizen. He clearly was not protected because he was targeted, shot, and received a nearly fatal wound—all due to an Officer that we strongly believe has a history of creating unlawful situations.
We are hopeful that the Grand Jury will take a deep look into the evidence presented and return an indictment.Billy Clark, Attorney for Demetrize Carter