An Oklahoma community was demanding answers days after two local police officers shot and killed an unarmed and naked Black teen under suspicious circumstances. Cops in Edmond said they were responding to a 911 call about a “domestic disturbance” in a backyard when they approached Isaiah Mark Lewis, who was completely nude at the time Monday night. They deployed a Taser on the 17-year-old to no avail, they said, before deciding the only way for two trained police officers to contain an unclothed teenager was to fatally shoot him, according to local news outlet KFOR.
Lewis was set to graduate from high school in about two weeks.
The shooting came nearly two months after other officers from the Edmond Police Department were somehow able to peacefully arrest a white teenager who had just shot both of his parents to death.
Lewis’ family said the cops’ narrative amounted to character assassination that may have also been a tactic to control the legal process that was expected to follow the shooting. The officers, Sgt. Milo Box and Denton Scherman, said Lewis was breaking into a home before a fistfight began, which led first to using a Taser before they shot him. Neither was wearing a body camera.
“Both officers were violently assaulted during this confrontation inside the house,” the Edmond Police Department said in a statement.
“They don’t get to assassinate my son’s character,” Vicki Lewis said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Lewis’ girlfriend said she called the police after he “just flipped out.”
Of course, even if all of the above was true, conventional wisdom would suggest police involved in that type of a scenario would know how to de-escalate a situation involving a suspect who was not just unarmed but fully nude.
Officers from the same police department were able to do just that with a fully clothed white teenager who shot both of his parents to death in March, according to reports.
Elijah Walker was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and was accused of shooting his parents “multiple times,” News 9 reported at the time. Unlike with the police narrative surrounding Lewis’ shooting, the Edmond Police Department was able to take the 19-year-old, who had a handgun, into custody.
The Oklahoma City chapter of Black Lives Matter was scheduled to hold a rally Friday to bring more attention to Lewis’ killing.
Police departments across the country have routinely been scrutinized for resorting to deadly tactics when dealing with Black suspects compared to their white counterparts. For instance, Dylann Roof — the white supremacist who killed nine Black parishioners in a historic African-American church in South Carolina — was reportedly fed Burger King after the armed suspect was arrested. However, statistics show that had Roof been a Black suspect, he probably would not have made it to the police station alive.