Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2012
The Tulsa Police Department has released the names of four officers involved in the shooting death of Donald Hallett. The officers identified by the TPD include Matt Hart, Eric Spradlin, David Brice and Chris O’Keefe.
According to the TPD, the officers were compelled to shoot Hallett after he pointed a shotgun at them while fleeing a residence near 10th Street and Birmingham Avenue. The four officers are currently on administrative leave while the department investigates the shooting.
The Tenth Circuit addressed a similar situation in the case of Allen v. Muskogee, 119 F.3d 837 (10th Cir. 1997) and concluded that the officers’ actions immediately preceding a decision to shoot an armed suspect is relevant and material in determining if the officers’ actions were reckless and precipitated the need to use deadly force. Id. at 841 (citing Sevier v. City of Lawrence, Kan., 60 F.3d 695, 699 (10th Cir.1995)).
The information released by the TPD is not sufficient to adequately determine what precipitated the shooting, or the apparent decision of Mr. Hallett to point a shotgun at the pursuing officers.
This is not the first shooting incident involving Hart and Spradlin. In October 2011, both officers were involved in the arrest of a witness who intended to testify against their fellow officers in a federal corruption trial. Hart and Spradlin were part of squad of five officers who entered the home of Shelia Barnes to execute on warrants that included failure to wear a seat belt, having an expired license tag, having no proof of insurance, and having no driver’s license, all relatively minor misdemeanor offenses that would appear to justify use of the Department’s Fugitive Warrants Unit. During execution of those warrants, one of the Unit members discharged his firearm outside the Barnes’ home.