Two former police officers in Lawton have been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a Black man in December while responding to a 911 call of an alleged protective order violation.
District Attorney Kyle Cabelka on Friday charged Robert Hinkle, 30, and Nathan Ronan, 29, in the death of Quadry Sanders, 29. The charges follow a monthslong probe by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which included a graphic video of the deadly incident.
Hinkle and Ronan were fired from the Lawton police department in January.
“The Comanche County District Attorney’s Office has made the determination that the shooting of Quadry Sanders was not justified,” Cabelka said in a statement.
Ronan and Hinkle were released Friday on a $25,000 bond. They face a minimum of four years in state prison if convicted of the fatal shooting. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.
On Dec. 5, 2021, the officers responded to a 911 call on an alleged protective order violation, where the caller reported Sanders was waving a gun in the house and wouldn’t let a resident leave, according to authorities.
Authorities said the officers requested that Sanders come out of the house. He exited from the side and then went back inside before coming out to the front, according to authorities.
During what authorities called a “confrontation” in front of the home, police fatally shot Sanders.
The Lawton Police Department turned the investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and also conducted an administrative investigation into the fatal shooting. The officers were fired after their actions were determined to be “not in conformance with the Lawton Police Department’s well-established training protocols, policies, practices, customs or procedures,” Lawton City Manager Michael Cleghorn wrote in a statement at the time .
Civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represented the family of George Floyd and is the lead lawyer for Ahmaud Arbery’s estate, is also representing Sanders family. Merritt wants the charges upgraded to murder. He told local reporters the video of Sanders’ fatal shooting is on par with footage of Floyd’s and Arbery’s deaths.
“It really shocks the conscience when you have a chance to see Mr. Sanders literally doing whatever he could to try to save his own life, and these officers are operating with such callousness,” Merritt told KSWO-TV Channel 7 in Lawton.
Gary James, an Oklahoma City-based attorney representing Hinkle and Ronan, said officers had repeatedly been called to the house because of Sanders, and evidence will show on the night of the fatal shooting they believed he was reaching for a weapon in his pants.
“Nobody is looking into the facts of this case,” James told The Oklahoman on Sunday. “These are good police officers.”
Video footage released by city
The city of Lawton has released more than 23 minutes of the police body camera footage, which shows officers setting up a perimeter around the house and a sergeant giving Sanders orders through a loudspeaker in a patrol vehicle.
Shortly after commands were given, a female resident of the home exited, according to Cabelka.
Sanders was seen going out of the back door of the home. When an officer gave Sanders commands to show his hands, he immediately complied but then ran back into the home, Cabelka said.
Seconds later, Sanders walked out of the front door of the home and was confronted underneath a carport by Hinkle and Ronan. According to footage from his body camera, Hinkle yelled “hands, hands” and “down, down, down, down.”
Sanders appeared from around a refrigerator, his hands were visible and he appeared to be holding a ball cap, which he moved from his right hand to his left. Sanders then moved partially behind the refrigerator.
Hinkle shot four times at Sanders, who appeared to have his right hand raised above his head before falling to the ground. Hinkle then yelled “down, down” “hands, hands, hands,” and “quit reaching.”
Sanders sat up with his hands above his head. Hinkle then fired seven more times.
Ronan also fired four times at Sanders, according to Cabelka, bringing the total of shots fired at Sanders to 15.
As the officers ordered Sanders to roll over on his stomach, he flailed, moaned, and said: “I’m down. I’m shot. I can’t breathe.”
Sanders died in an ambulance while being taken to the hospital, Cabelka said.
The autopsy report revealed Sanders was struck 12 times, including in the abdomen, groin area, legs, arm, and hand.
Cabelka said no weapon was found on Sanders nor in the area where he was shot.
However, James, the attorney for the officers, said a weapon was later discovered in the residence.
“A gun was found on a table in the living room he came out of,” James said.