Residents protest killing of unarmed teen in Edmond
EDMOND — People angered by the shooting of an unarmed black teen by Edmond police marched through the city Friday evening.
Dozens gathered outside Boulevard Academy and walked the damp streets toward the Edmond Police Department headquarters, some held signs soggy from the rain, others simply shouted Isaiah Lewis’ name.
On Monday, Lewis, 17, was shot to death after police said he broke into a home and assaulted officers who had followed him inside. Police have said one of the officers fired a Taser at Lewis, who was reportedly naked and unarmed, but it had no effect.
Multiple shots were fired at Lewis, who was struck and died after being taken to OU Medical Center.
Kevin Robinson, a friend of the Lewis family, said it was a tragic situation after seeing Lewis grow up from a boy to the young man that was set to graduate from the school this month.
“It’s a shame that we have to do this,” Robinson, 57, of Oklahoma City said. “It’s got to stop.”
Robinson said police haven’t released much information to the family and that they are asking for more transparency.
“We don’t know what’s going on. We just know he’s not here,” he said.
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Robinson said he’s upset with the killing of black men by police officers across the country and questioned why the two officers had to resort to lethal force.
“Two grown men should have been able to take a 17-year-old,” he said.
Joshua Harris-Till, an active member of the Young Democrats of Oklahoma, echoed Robinson’s call for transparency and said Lewis’ death is concerning.
"We have a real problem. It’s something deeper than just, I think, even training issues," Harris-Till, 29, said. "This was a first option, or even an option, was to use lethal force and it shouldn’t have been."
Harris-Till said the truth of what happened in the house needed to be made available to the community and Lewis’ family.
“Because if it was a failure on the part of the police department or the officers, then we need to figure out what that failure was and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
During a Wednesday news conference, Vicki Lewis, the teen’s mother, said she thought people's perceptions have been clouded by what police have reported.
“He was not armed, and he didn’t deserve to die in the way that he did. He didn’t deserve to die, period,” she said.
The Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, executive director of Black Lives Matter OKC, said she and others are calling for the officers involved in the shooting to be held “fully accountable for their actions.”
“Isaiah Lewis’s death represents the abject failure of the Edmond Police Department to respond appropriately to a teenager in crisis, to deescalate a situation, and to respond with nonlethal force to a situation in which no one was at serious risk,” Dickerson said in a statement. “His death is yet another example of how black lives do NOT matter.”
Edmond Police Department officials said officers were notified of a domestic disturbance just before 1:05 p.m. Monday. Two girls came to a house claiming that Isaiah Lewis had assaulted them after coming over to his girlfriend’s house and that he had “flipped out.”
Witnesses told police they saw Isaiah Lewis running through the neighborhood, stripping off his clothes. Officers later located Isaiah Lewis, who they said was hopping fences and running naked through a backyard.
Sgt. Milo Box and officer Denton Scherman were in an unmarked police vehicle when they saw the boy break into a home and followed him inside, police said.
Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.
The officers were not equipped with body-worn cameras. Officials said the police department is in the process of issuing body-worn cameras later this year. Currently, only four of the cameras are used by the department as they work to implement the devices to all officers.