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Balloon Ceremony Held for Lawton Oklahoma Man Slain by Police

Balloon Ceremony Held for Lawton Oklahoma Man Slain by Police

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This past Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Lawton Oklahoma man, Quadry Sanders, who was gunned down by former Lawton Oklahoma Police officers, Nathan Ronan, and Robert Hinkle.

The shooting that took this Lawton Oklahoma man’s life happened last year in a local neighborhood near N.W. 18th St. and N.W. Lincoln Ave. Within Comanche County limits. Police presence occurred after officers responded to reports of a protective order violation. The family of Sanders gathered at the “Gore Median Park”, located on 4th and Gore in Lawton Oklahoma, to celebrate the life of Quadry Sanders. “Change is what we want” Mina Woods, the mother of Quadry, expressed as she spoke about her son at the gathering this past Sunday.

Mina went on to speak about the timely manner in which her son’s case is appearing in Oklahoma courts. “God is working, in this case, to ensure no other family has to feel the pain we feel after losing Quadry.”

Mrs. Woods plans on establishing community enrichment programs in Comanche county to combat some of the problems that stem from Comanche counties below poverty population, such as lack of education and housing security.

With the deadline to file a wrongful death suit approaching for the Zontorious Johnsons family, another Lawton man murdered by officer Roman the previous year, Mina reflected on the type of change that could come with convictions for the two officers who murdered Quadry Sanders and Officer Roman who took the life of Zontorious Johnson as well and the life of Sanders.

“We should not fear walking to the store or school or anywhere we go as poor people or minorities or whatever it is not about race it is about the police in Lawton, we are looked at like predators which allows for this type of violence to continue” Mrs. woods stated during the balloon ceremony.

Group of people standing outside
Photo Credit: Amberly R Taylor

Hinkle and Ronan were terminated after the medical examiner’s report determined Sanders was shot 12 times. The shooting and killing of Quadry Sanders on December 5th, 2021, has “Left a void in the hearts of Quadry’s loved ones,” Sander’s mother exclaimed at this past Sunday’s balloon release held to honor the life of Quadry Sanders. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the deadly shooting and released their findings stating that an autopsy determined that Sanders was shot 12 times in the abdomen, groin, legs, arms, and hand.

“It was just murder,” said attorney Lee Merritt in his response in an interview after taking on the case representing the Sanders family in a wrongful death suit. “There was no justification.”

Body cam footage released by Lawton Police on a YouTube page that has since been taken down showed Lawton police officer Robert Hinkle yelling, “Hands! Hands! Hands!”

Sanders, while wounded, tried to raise his hands while officer Hinkle shot him seven more times, making the total of shots 12.

Lawton police officer Nathan Ronan showed in body cam footage to have fired four shots at Sanders. The video audio has been reported by the news group “The Brown Watch” to have captured Ronan’s voice admitting to never seeing a gun in Sanders’ hands before a sergeant instructs him to be quiet. 29-year-old Sanders was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

Comanche county District Attorney’s office announced that both cops were charged with first-degree manslaughter while releasing the body camera footage.

Quadry was remembered by his family as the laughter and light of their days around him. Mr. Sanders’ uncle playfully held a candle reminiscing about his nephew’s humor as he released a balloon in honor of his life.

As the balloon release ceremony continued, the crowd was instructed by Quadry’s mother to walk to the parking lot where Mr. Sanders’ father was standing unable to walk to the original gathering place due to his grieving.

Quadry’s father, while visibly hurting, spoke about his son in a loving, caring manner expressing the pain caused by missing his son.

The ceremony ended with Quadry’s mother pleading to Oklahoma residents to get out and support social justice events and movements.

“We have to come out and support each other” Mina ended the Balloon tribute ceremony and balloons were released.

A civil rights lawsuit was filed against Police Officer Robert Hinkle and Police Officer Nathan Ronan and the City of Lawton Oklahoma, seeking punitive and compensatory damages for alleged assault, battery, and violation of civil rights which resulted in wrongful death.

This case was filed by Mina Woods, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, with Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti presiding along with the charges of manslaughter against both officers standing.

Feature Photo Credit: Amberly R Taylor

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