City: Police killing of naked, unarmed teen was justified


August 9, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Police in an Oklahoma City suburb were justified when they fatally shot a black teenager who was naked and unarmed, an attorney for the city argues in a response to a civil rights lawsuit filed by the teen's parents.

The parents of Isaiah Mark Lewis contend in their federal lawsuit that Sgt. Milo Box and Officer Denton Scherman used excessive force and acted "unnecessarily and unjustly" when they hit their 17-year-old son with a stun gun and then fatally shot him on April 29 after he allegedly broke into a home.

In a response filed Wednesday on behalf of the city, attorney Taylor Clark denies that the city violated Lewis' constitutional rights and says: "Lewis was justifiably shot by a service weapon after being ineffectively tasered."

"Edmond also admits that Isaiah Mark Lewis was naked and unarmed when he was shot and that verbal commands were given to Isaiah Mark Lewis prior to the shooting," Clark wrote.

The officers have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. Taylor declined further comment.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who is reviewing the case, has not yet decided whether the shooting was justified under state law. Prater did not reply to a phone message seeking comment.

The parents' attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, said the city's claims will have no impact on whether the officers are determined to be culpable for Lewis' death.

"The family is not surprised by the city's response," Stroth told The Associated Press. "The city fails to take accountability for the unjustified and unconstitutional shooting of unarmed Isaiah Lewis."

"This answer by the city was in response to the lawsuit and it has zero impact on the potential criminal charges against these officers," Stroth said.

Lewis suffered four gunshot wounds to his face, thighs and groin, an autopsy determined. Toxicology tests showed he had detectable amounts of a common antihistamine called diphenhydramine and THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, in his system.


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