Oklahoma prosecutor clears officers in death of naked and unarmed teen
A prosecutor declined Monday to file criminal charges against police officers in an Oklahoma City suburb for the fatal shooting of a black teenager who was naked and unarmed.
Officer Denton Scherman of the Edmond Police Department “was acting pursuant to Oklahoma statute” in an effort to protect himself and Sgt. Milo Box when Scherman fatally shot 17-year-old Isaiah Mark Lewis on April 29, Oklahoma County Dist. Atty. David Prater said Monday.
Under state law, an officer is justified in the use of deadly force when the officer “perceived a threat of serious bodily harm to themselves or another person,” Prater said in a statement. Box was diagnosed with a concussion and suffered neck and back injuries following the confrontation with Lewis, and Scherman suffered contusions to his neck and face, Prater said.
Although cleared of criminal charges, the officers are defendants in a lawsuit filed against the city by Lewis’ parents. It claims they used excessive force and acted “unnecessarily and unjustly” when they used a stun gun on their son before fatally shooting him.
An autopsy found Lewis sustained gunshot wounds to his face, thighs and groin. Toxicology tests showed he had detectable amounts of a common antihistamine called diphenhydramine and THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, in his system.
Police said Lewis was naked when he broke into an Edmond home and attacked the two officers. Earlier, 911 callers reported that Lewis had stripped off his clothes as he ran down the street.
The officers have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.