OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City Police homicide detective is recanting a sworn statement he previously made about an OKCPD sergeant who is facing first-degree manslaughter charges after a deadly police shooting in Northwest OKC.
The high-profile shooting started with a disturbance call near Hefner Rd. and Pennsylvania Ave. on December 11, 2020. Officers said a homeless man, Bennie Edwards, was running erratically from officers with a knife when Sergeant Clifford Holman shot him.
News of his death quickly sparked protests from the community, including Black Lives Matter.
In February, the Sgt. Holman was charged with first-degree manslaughter charges. In the sworn affidavit, Detective Bryn Carter said the sergeant fired unnecessarily when he killed Edwards.
The Oklahoman reported Detective Carter is now retracting his statement. The paper reported people close to the investigation said Carter made the statement under pressure.
In a statement to News 4, Police Chief Wade Gourley said an internal investigation cleared carter of the discrepancy. The Chief added, “Inspector Carter’s work assignment has not changed and he remains a highly respected member of the OKCPD’s Homicide Unit.”
“Who did they interview? And why wasn’t a member of the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office interviewed as well?” said Representative Jason Lowe, a defense attorney.
Lowe said a detective recanting his statement is rare and could result in him facing perjury charges.
“Perjury means you made a statement under oath,” he said. “Whatever statement you made it is accurate and truthful. So, this officer, potentially, could be subjected to criminal prosecution by the attorney general’s office.”
Game plans at the future trial could be thrown a curve ball. A potential star witness for prosecutors could switch teams.
“Because now you have officers that are backing up the officer’s statements as far as how this shooting took place,” said Lowe.
And the rift between OKC Police and District Attorney David Prater could be even wider.
“Usually the DA’s office and the police department, they partner and prosecute cases. So, when you have officers deviating form the position of the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office, in prosecuting this case, that’s a major issue,” said Lowe.
To gain the public’s trust, Lowe said the department needs more transparency.
“People believe that there’s a blue wall of silence, for lack of a better word,” said the defense attorney.
KFOR reached out to the OKC Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, and Carter’s attorney. No one wanted to comment on camera.