In response to the news that the Oklahoma City Police Department has killed a deaf man who did not respond to officer commands, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement:
The following is attributable to Allie Shinn, Director of External Affairs:
“We are incredibly saddened and disturbed by the news that an Oklahoma City police officer shot and killed Magdiel Sanchez, a deaf man confronted on his own porch.
Police have an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable modifications in their interactions with people with disabilities. The neighbors put the police on notice that they were dealing with someone who had a disability.
Merely failing to follow commands is an unacceptable defense for the use of lethal force. We have allowed a dangerous culture of “us vs. them” to fester among our law enforcement professionals. This killing speaks directly to a warrior culture in which the very people police officers are sworn to protect come to be viewed as the enemy. This culture assumes that an officer’s command, regardless of validity, is more important and more valuable than a human life.
We as a society must consider whether or not our officers are truly equipped and qualified to serve as a protective force. Evidence is mounting daily that too often many of our officers are more interested in power than in protection.
Magdiel Sanchez was shot at his own home, without having committed any crime, and in front of neighbors who knew he was deaf trying to communicate to the police that what they were about to do was wrong. Magdiel Sanchez should be alive today.”