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  • Civil Rights Act complaint filed over deadly-force incident in Norman

    Civil Rights Act complaint filed over deadly-force incident in Norman

    In December 2014, Martin Sanchez-Juarez was killed by Norman Police Department officer Heather Glazier during an altercation outside a strip mall in east Norman.  In December 2016, Sanchez-Juarez’s widow, Angelica Cruz Sanchez, filed a federal civil rights complaint with the US District Court of Western Oklahoma.  The case is filed under Sec. 42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights.

    Norman Leaks recently obtained records regarding the case.  The complete text of the complaint filing is provided at the bottom of this page.

    Sanchez-Juarez’s brother Juan, along with several other witnesses, were present the day of the shooting.  Juan gave his account in a NewsOK article days following the incident:

    “Everybody was around him, making sure he didn’t go into the street or do anything stupid,” Juan Sanchez-Juarez said. “And then, we saw the ambulance coming first, park across the street and wait for the cops to come and grab him and take him back to the hospital. We saw the cops and thought, ‘OK, it’s over, everything will be fine. They’re going to take him off to the hospital.’ They know he wasn’t normal.”

    The article says Heather Glazier shot Sanchez-Juarez twice in the legs and once in the head, fatally wounding him.

    The complaint says “defendant Glazier’s actions were unjustified, wanton, and/or intentional, demonstrating severe lack of respect for the body integrity of both Martin and other bystanders nearby. The harm to Martin was lethal, and demonstrably a Fourth Amendment violation.”

    District Attorney Greg Mashburn never pursued the matter. A NewsOK article following the December 2016 filing quoted the Cleveland County district attorney’s initial ruling as saying that Glazier’s use of deadly force was “justifiable and appropriate under the law.”  Norman Leaks contacted the Cleveland County Court Clerk and was told they had no records available.

    Months prior to the killing, Martin Sanchez-Juarez was electrocuted while working on his microwave. Beginning in August 2014, he began receiving treatment for burns and pain.  The treatments went on for several months. The text of the complaint says the pain and trauma of the electrocution caused Martin to suffer hallucinations and psychological trauma.  The case alleges that the co-defendant, Team Health, based at Norman Regional Hospital, failed to provide a translator for Sanchez-Juarez. As a result, the case alleges the medical staff inappropriately diagnosed him as suffering from a drug overdose. Sanchez-Juarzez was treated without informed consent, according to the complaint.

    Later in December 2014, Martin Sanchez-Juarez was again taken to the ER. This time, he was suffering from hallucinations and psychological trauma believed to be associated with the electrocution incident. The complaint goes on, stating:

    On or around December 13, 2014, Martin was again taken to the ER and seen by Team Health, which again misdiagnosed him, and released him after giving him what is believed to be a strong sedative. Martin was released from the ER the morning of Sunday, December 14, 2016, but could not walk on his own. Thus, no informed consent of any kind was given to his family on leaving Defendant Team Health at the ER. Martin slept in the car on the way home.

    Shortly after arriving home, Martin Sanchez-Juarez wandered off. Family members called the Norman police requesting assistance in getting him back to the emergency room safely. According to news reports, paramedics on the scene had also contacted the Norman Police Department requesting assistance in subduing Sanchez-Juarez.  NPD was supposedly aware of Sanchez-Juarez’s medical history and his need for psychiatric treatment.

    After Martin awoke from his family bringing him from the hospital, he was incoherent and apparently hallucinating, and began walking around. His family called 911, and requested help in transferring him back to the hospital.

    When the emergency vehicle arrived on the scene, it parked and apparently called for police help again, to transport Martin back to the hospital. Norman Police had by then assisted several times in transporting Martin to the Defendant Team Health at the ER. Martin was walking in front of a strip mall off of 24th street, in Norman, OK, singing to himself, apparently hallucinating, and was holding a ball peen hammer.

    The complaint alleges NPD officer Heather Glazier arrived on the scene, nearly hitting Sanchez-Juarez in or around the strip mall’s parking area.

    Upon almost being hit, Martin, obviously not lucid, made a lunge toward the vehicle with the small ball peen hammer he held. Martin was several feet in front of the right front bumper area of the police car. At this time, Defendant Officer Glazier got out of the driver seat, went to the back of her squad car several feet to the rear of it, detaining Martin for arrest, and placing the car between herself and incoherent Martin, and being at least 25 feet away from him, and drew her gun, firing without properly communicating with him.

    Court documents allege Glazier did not attempt to communicate with Martin Sanchez-Juarez and did not seek a Spanish interpreter.  “In fact, Defendant Glazier did nothing to try to place Martin in the waiting ambulance. Rather, she fired multiple shots at him, mortally wounding him.”  The case file also notes, Glazier’s actions threatened bystanders. Some of the shots fired struck a hair & nail salon in the strip mall.

    Due to prior incidents, the Norman Police Department was already on notice for “deficient training,” the complaint notes.

    The full text of the Dec. 14 2016 filing is below:

    Download (PDF, 90KB)

    Norman Leaks is continuing to follow the story and will post updates when available.

     

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