Tulsa Police Kill Man in Apparent “Suicide by Cop”

An apparent  “suicide by cop” scenario has unfolded in South Tulsa.  An officer with the Tulsa Police Department killed a hispanic man on February 16 following a stand-off that lasted several hours.  According to reports, police officers converged on an apartment near the 7100 block of South Granite responding to a call from the man’s roommate who advised the police that the roommate had chased him from the apartment with a knife, and was suicidal.

When police responded, the man allegedly emerged from the apartment on several occasions to confront the officers before retreating back inside the unit.  Reports suggest the man made attempts to light several fires in the apartment kitchen.  After several hours with the police outside, reports indicate the man emerged from the apartment with a site-mounted weapon, which prompted at least one officer to fire several shots that killed the suspect. Police discovered the weapon was a BB gun.

The stand-off represents a familiar problem for law enforcement and how to address suspects who may use police presence as a means to commit suicide.  This phenomenon, often referred to as “suicide-by-cop”, places law enforcement in the position of protecting themselves while simultaneously trying to protect the suspect from injuring him or herself.

So-called “Suicide-by-cop” scenarios can result in civil liability against a police department if the agency has failed to implement adequate training measures to reduce the threat of harm, or where officers create a situation where the use of force becomes necessary.  See Allen v. City of Muskogee, 119 F.3d 837 (10th Cir. 1997).

If you have questions about use of force and “suicide-by-cop” scenarios, contact our attorneys to discuss the situation and the civil rights implications under state and federal law.

From KOTV:  Man Dead In Standoff With Tulsa Police