LAWTON, Okla. – Two former Oklahoma police officers are facing first-degree manslaughter charges in connection with the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man in December.
Ex-Lawton Police Officers Robert Hinkle, 30, and Nathan Rona, 29, were charged in the death of Quandry Sanders, 29, after an investigation of the shooting by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
On December 5, Lawton Police responded to a call about a man in violation of a protective order and in possession of a firearm, according to a statement from District Attorney Kyle Cabelka.
Once officers arrived at the home, “the suspect was identified as Quadry Sanders. Officers learned that Mr. Sanders was inside the home (…) and was refusing to let one of the residents leave,” the statement read. “Officers set up a perimeter around the house. A sergeant with the Lawton Police Department (LPD) then began giving Mr. Sanders orders using a PA system in a patrol vehicle. Shortly after commands were given, a female resident of the home exited.”
Sanders was later seen going out the back door of the home, and an officer gave “commands to show his hands, which he immediately complied with,” according to the DA.
“But then Mr. Sanders ran back into the home. Seconds later, Quadry Sanders walked out of the front door of the home. Mr. Sanders was met underneath a carport by Officers Robert Hinkle and Nathan Ronan,” the statement read.
Bodycam video released on May 6 shows one of the officers telling Sanders “hands, hands” and “down, down, down, down.”
Sanders’ hands were “clearly seen and the only item visible in his hands is a ball cap, which he transfers from his right hand to his left hand,” according to the statement.
“Mr. Sanders can be seen raising both of his hands in the air, above his head. At that time, Officer Hinkle shoots his firearm four times at Mr. Sanders. Mr. Sanders falls to the ground and appears to have been shot, at which time Officer Hinkle once again orders ‘hands, hands, hands,’ and to ‘quit reaching,'” the statement read.
“Sanders sits up from his back with his hands above his head at which time Officer Hinkle fires his firearm seven additional times. Simultaneously with these shots, Officer Ronan also fires his weapon at Mr. Sanders four times,” the statement read.
Sanders was shot 12 times and pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.
Cabelka said no weapon was found on Sanders nor in the area where he was shot.
“After review of the entire case file presented by the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation), including the Medical Examiner’s Autopsy Report, the Comanche County District Attorney’s Office has made the determination that the shooting of Quadry Sanders was not justified. Officers Robert Hinkle and Nathan Ronan have been charged with First Degree Manslaughter,” the DA’s statement added.
Hinkle and Ronan were fired from the police department on Jan. 7, Lawton City Manager Michael Cleghorn said in a statement.
They were taken into custody and released Friday on a $25,000 bond. They face a minimum of four years in state prison if convicted of the fatal shooting of Sanders. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.
S. Lee Merritt, the civil rights attorney who is representing the Sanders’ family, said he wants the charges upgraded to murder.
“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.
“It was just murder,” he said. “There was no justification.”