Oklahoma County grand jury Demetrize Carter
The two most recent Oklahoma County grand juries have convened at the Attorney General's Office. (Tres Savage)

Days after an altercation disrupted its proceedings, an Oklahoma County grand jury recommended no charges be filed against a Del City police officer in connection with an August shooting at a Choctaw High School football game.

Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna’s office announced the grand jury’s decision Thursday afternoon, describing in a press release how Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers responded to calls for assistance at the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday where subpoenaed witnesses were preparing to testify before the grand jury.

“Based on initial information, it appears a group of individuals became aware of the confidential proceedings,” the statement from Behenna’s office said. “Those individuals had no reason to be at the AG’s Office that day. Their presence led to the altercation that occurred in the parking lot. Quick action by law enforcement prevented the situation from escalating.”

Sarah Stewart, director of media operations for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said the agency was not releasing information about its response to Tuesday’s event. Footage recorded and reported by News 9 showed at least three individuals in handcuffs, but Stewart said she did not know if anyone was arrested.

Attorney: Grand jury ‘a way for the DA not to take responsibility’

Behenna grand jury examines Choctaw shooting
Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna requested the empanelment of a county grand jury on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, to examine a pair of shootings involving law enforcement officers. (Screenshot)

The altercation added another layer of drama to the law enforcement investigations and proceedings that have slogged along since the Aug. 25 shooting at Choctaw High School that left one teen dead.

The Del City police officer cleared Thursday, who has not been named by authorities, had been off duty during the football game between Del City and Choctaw when they responded to a fight between two males that included gunfire. Seventeen-year-old Cordae Carter died from a gunshot fired by an unknown assailant.

The officer fired their weapon moments later and shot Demetrize Carter, whose attorney, Billy Clark, told The Oklahoman he was trying to break up the fight when he was wounded.

After dismissing charges in July against several police officers in three separate fatal shooting cases, Behenna pledged to have grand juries make all charging decisions about police shootings in the future. Three days after the Choctaw football game — which featured a fatal shooting by a citizen and a non-lethal shooting by a police officer — Behenna empaneled a grand jury Aug. 28 to examine the officer’s actions and a separate matter involving a U.S. marshal.

However, Behenna did not use the grand jury to make charging decisions on the fatal shooting. Instead, on Sept. 8, she filed a first-degree murder charge on a 15-year-old boy based on information provided by Choctaw police. That charge was dropped four months later, and the teenager’s attorneys criticized the way their client was named publicly and “paraded in front of everyone in the district court like an adult.”

On Friday afternoon, Clark, the attorney for Demetrize Carter, also criticized Behenna’s choice to rely on a grand jury for charging decisions about the officer who shot his client.

“We believe that process is taking the responsibility away from the DA and pushing onto another entity, so we completely think that it’s a way for the DA not to take responsibility,” Clark told NonDoc.

According to Behenna’s press release Thursday, the grand jury heard testimony from 10 witnesses and reviewed 41 exhibits related to the incident that sent both football teams scrambling off the field and incited panic in many of the game’s attendees.

After reviewing evidence and listening to testimony, the panel determined that a use-of-force expert was unnecessary for the grand jury to deliberate. Upon completion of its deliberations, the grand jury concluded the officer should not be charged, Behenna’s release said.

The grand jury did offer recommendations for law enforcement agencies that respond to similar crime scenes in the future. The recommendations appear to reflect frustration with what has been described as a “pretty abysmal” investigation into the shootings. Recommendations include:

  • Law enforcement agencies should review the policies and procedures regarding activating body-worn cameras and should ensure uniformed personnel have functioning cameras that activate in a timely manner.
  • In a multi-agency response such as the Choctaw football game shooting, a lead law enforcement agency should be selected in a swift and concise manner, and that agency should coordinate personnel and assignments for responding agencies throughout the investigation.
  • The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office should invest in technology that allows crime scene investigators to produce an accurate scene sketch with a legend and evidence item key, and photographs should be taken at the scene. Multiple technical investigators should respond to a scene as large as a football stadium, and if the crime scene investigator asks to access the scene for further processing, they should not be prohibited from doing so. Detectives on scene should help identify key evidence to process for DNA and latent prints, and all personnel handling evidence should be adequately equipped with gloves.
  • A cross-departmental and jurisdictional training program should be implemented that specifically addresses and provides training on how to respond to and investigate a scene similar to the Choctaw football game shooting, and those involved with the Choctaw football game investigation should receive further training on crime scene processing and investigative techniques.
  • When law enforcement is requested for a school extracurricular activity, there should be a briefing before the event between all the law enforcement attending to discuss and plan for any issues that may arise.
  • All school districts should implement additional security measures for all extracurricular school events to include student identification for entry, metal detectors and operable surveillance video systems directed at the event and parking lots.

Clark, the attorney for Demetrize Carter, released a lengthy statement late Friday, saying “the investigation of this tragic incident has been botched since its onset.”

“Demetrize Carter and his family are extremely disappointed in the Oklahoma County grand jury’s recommendation that no charges be filed against the Del City Officer who used his service weapon to fire a near fatal shot at Demetrize Carter,” Clark said. “We ask that the DA overrule the grand jury’s recommendation and still file charges against this officer.”

Clark said his client is facing “more surgeries,” requires assistance walking up steps and “may never work again.”

“My office has requested basic information regarding the shooting of Mr. Demetrize Carter since early September 2023,” Clark said. “To date, we have received very little information from Oklahoma County and Del City. In these times, transparency is essential. The lack of transparency continues to show the country how divided Oklahoma County is in its treatment of citizens at the hands of the police.”

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation continues inquiry

While the examination of Demetrize Carter’s shooting by the Del City officer has concluded, Cordae Carter’s death is still being investigated, according to Behenna’s communications director.

“The OSBI is investigating Cordae’s case. I cannot comment on what will or won’t be presented to the grand jury,” Brook Arbeitman said.


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The case has been complicated since it began, with a litany of law enforcement agencies involved at the initial scene and after the fact.

Saying a “witness recanted,” Behenna dropped the first-degree murder case in January against the boy she had charged in September. Months shy of his 16th birthday at the time he was charged, the boy had been held on a $10 million bond his family could not pay, and his attorneys criticized the DA’s office for filing the charge in the first place.

“There is not one piece of any physical evidence whatsoever that connected our client to any weapon or anything like that,” attorney John Martino said in January “The only thing they had was this half-hearted identification.”

Martino and co-counsel Jaye Mendros said their review of evidence provided to them in the discovery process showed 10 to 15 guns being found on various people at the scene of the shooting.

“The police were sitting down people with guns. They were sitting down people, taking their guns away, giving them their guns back and then letting them leave. So none of those guns were tested,” Mendros said. “The investigation was pretty abysmal. It really was. That’s not a knock on the DA’s office. They have to work with whatever law enforcement agency was responding.”

When she announced the dismissal of the charge in January, Behenna said she would continue to work to find whoever shot and kiiled Cordae Carter.

“To Cordae’s family, I promise we are not giving up on identifying and prosecuting the person responsible for his death,” Behenna said in a press release. “The OSBI is following investigative leads and processing evidence. Based on their investigation, charges can be refiled in the future since there is no statute of limitations for murder.”