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Police officer recants previous statement against fellow officer charged with first-degree manslaughter

Oklahoma City detective Bryn Carter, who investigated the murder of Bennie Edwards at the hands of another OKC police officer, has recanted his sworn statement that the officer who killed Mr. Edward fired his shots “unnecessarily.” 

Detective Carter, who has been with the Oklahoma City Police Department for nearly 30 years, initially noted that OKC PD officer Clifford Holman “unnecessarily” fired three shots into Mr. Edwards’ back while the innocent Black man was in the midst of a mental health crisis in December 2020. However, court documents reveal that the detective, who signed his name to the probable cause affidavit, later recanted his statement.

In February 2021, Officer Holman was charged with First Degree Manslaughter in Mr. Edwards’ murder, along with an alternative charge of second-degree manslaughter. Detective Bryn’s statements were an integral factor in District Attorney David Prater’s decision to file the charges. 

OKC PD at odds with District Attorney’s Office

Detective Carter’s retraction was discovered through an investigation into a separate case, which showed that a week after he signed the sworn affidavit in the Bennie Edwards case, he contacted District Attorney Prater to recant. 

Per documents in the case of the State of Oklahoma V. Israel Deshawn Pointer, “Detective Carter advised DA Prater that he could not ‘stand by’ what he alleged in the affidavit sworn in the Holman investigation.” The court filing continued: “Specifically, Carter related that he did not believe that Officer Clifford Holman’s gunshot that killed Benny Edwards was unnecessary.”

Now other cases on which Detective Carter and other police officers made sworn statements are now being considered for appeal. District Attorney Prater, however, claimed that the retraction would not affect the Manslaughter charges filed against Officer Holman. 

DA questions integrity of OKC PD

District Attorney Prater further stated that he has concerns about the Oklahoma City Police Department’s ability to investigate crimes objectively, particularly when the crimes involve their own officers. According to DA Prater, “The leadership and command of the Oklahoma City Police Department have now verified the concerns that many in the community have voiced for years regarding an inability to objectively investigate its own officers.” 

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Police Department is standing by Detective Carter’s new statement. “Inspector Carter’s work assignment has not changed, and he remains a highly respected member of the OKCPD’s Homicide Unit,” Oklahoma City Police Department Master Sgt. Gary Knight said in a statement.

The Oklahoman first reported that Detective Carter was pressured to walk back his initial statement. Neither Detective Carter nor Officer Holman has spoken on the record about the case.   

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