A federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma found that a police officer’s shooting death of a 16 year-old boy was unnecessary. The Tulsa County DA refused to prosecute the officer. Judge Gregory K. Frizzel, in citing precedence for the decision, held “… an officer’s use of deadly force without probably cause to believe that a suspect, while driving a vehicle, presents a serious threat of physical harm to himself or others is a violation of clearly established law.”
The Opinion and Order was filed in the case styled Tiffany Simpson v. Jon Little, et al., filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Case No. 18-CV-491-GKF-FHM. To view the Opinion and Order, click here.
Defendant Police Officer Little is a former Tulsa County deputy sheriff and a former Wagoner County deputy sheriff. It is not yet clear why his tenure at the two county sheriff’s departments were cut short prior to his eventually getting a job at the City of Bixby, a small town outside Tulsa.
Importantly, federal court Judge Frizzel cited alleged facts that Officer Little could not have believed he was in danger at the moment he began shooting. “Officer Little did not fire until Logan (the 16 year-old) was driving past him and ‘continued firing as Logan continued past him and down the street’”.
Judge Frizzel continued “Insofar as Officer Little was not in the path of the SUV, was some distance away, and Logan was driving the SUV slowly, probably cause did not exist to believe Logan posed a threat of serious physical harm to Officer Little or anyone else.” Order at p. 6.
The Tulsa County DA refused to prosecute Officer Little. Federman & Sherwood became involved in this case after being asked by a Tulsa attorney to assist because they feel the facts, when adequately investigated, indicate an unjustified police shooting that should come to light. They feel the killing of the 16 year old boy was unnecessary.