In preparing to publish the video of a fatal Midwest City police shooting, NonDoc reached out to Charles Pettit Jr.’s father — Charles Pettit Sr. — through his Facebook page.
Pettit Sr. did not respond, but a Dallas attorney named Emmanuel Obi said he and a colleague are “doing some preliminary investigation into the matter before we make any determination of how to move forward.”
Obi criticized Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, NonDoc and other media in a contentious and unusual 25-minute interview.
“This is odd because you’re calling me from the perspective of somebody who is a law-enforcement loyalist,” Obi said. “Because you’re telling me that you’ve got this footage and you’ve got all this information but you haven’t released it. You’ve been sitting on it, so you say, which is bullshit, OK? Don’t play games with me, alright. This is really sick what you guys are doing, OK? This is really sick what you guys are doing. And God is watching you, and he will have his justice done.”
While Obi waits on divine intervention for media members, he’s asking that Prater request a federal review of the situation and evidence.
“This is what I want,” Obi said. “If DA Prater is for real, if he’s serious about all this stuff he’s talking about, release the tape and the video to the FBI and have them conduct an independent analysis and release a report. If you are that confident, I bet you everything I have in my bank account right now that he won’t do it unless he’s forced.”
Prater said that’s not how the system works and that the FBI doesn’t need anyone’s permission to open an investigation into something if they think there is a reason to do so.
“As in any case, if the FBI wants to come in here and look at any case or any file I have, I welcome them,” he said. “Any case, any file, any investigation. I welcome the FBI.”
Obi’s call for FBI investigation came after he roundly criticized Prater for not responding to calls from his associate, even though his associate, Pettit Sr. and other community members viewed the video in mid-March.
Declining to elaborate on how long he’s been seeking to speak with Prater, Obi would only say he has been trying to access the video “for a while,” and he referred to Prater as “a coward.”
“We have made numerous attempts through various publicly available avenues to receive this public information,” he said. “Period. End of sentence, OK?”
Prater said an official request for the video from Obi’s law firm was dated Tuesday. He added that he showed the video to a different attorney who was representing Pettit Sr. in December.
Then, he and Midwest City Police Chief Clabes showed the video to Obi’s associate, Pettit Sr., a Midwest City councilwoman and several others at the aforementioned meeting March 14 in Midwest City.
Full dash-cam video of MWC police shooting by William W. Savage III
“I get a call from Brandon Clabes like that next day, and he said that Mr. Pettit is posting on a website that the video doesn’t show a gun in his son’s hand and that officer Hill murdered his son and that they’re manufacturing this evidence, and all this other stuff,” Prater said. “I said, ‘Brandon, there’s nothing we will be able to do to convince this man that now his second son has been killed by police after trying to murder police officers.’ This is just this guy’s deal, whatever it is. I said, ‘I’m done with these people.’ I’ve wasted way too much time with them. We gave them what they needed. We were courteous to them. We tried to answer their questions, and now this? I said, ‘I’m not going to stand for people attempting to incite violence against our police officers.’ (I’m not going to) continue to act like we’re going to bend over backwards to take care of them.”
Obi, who did not attend the March 14 meeting, said he finds Prater’s actions and the situation to be “odd.”
“Every time that Prater has shown that video,” Obi said, “he’s shown it within the context of the equipment in his office with very heavy narration. ‘Oh, look here, this is where you see this, this is where you see that.’ If it’s clear, shut up and let me watch it myself!
“At some point, when he grows a pair and decides that he wants to have a real professional-to-professional adult conversation and not all this kid stuff — OK, any amateur can go on TV and show a video — but a real professional, a real DA, will sit down with a defense attorney and hold his ground on every substantive point.
“He has yet to do that. Until he does that, he’s not living up to the oath he swore to uphold.”
Prater, who has garnered some national attention for his successful prosecutions of former Oklahoma City Police Department officer Daniel Holtzclaw and former Del City Police Department officer Randy Trent Harrison and his firing of two assistant DAs for an ethical violation, said Pettit’s continued vilification of officer Hill frustrates him.
“Twice now, we met with lawyers, the family, community activists including the NAACP and went over the evidence with the officer Hill shooting,” Prater said. “We had explained everything, we had been transparent with what the evidence was, and I felt like, at that point, after those meetings and with Mr. Pettit continuing to try to incite violence with police officers, I decided I wasn’t going to engage Mr. Pettit or his lawyers in the future.”