Oklahoma City Police shot and killed a deaf Hispanic male adult in his mid-thirties who was holding a pipe to protect himself from aggressive neighborhood dogs on Tuesday evening. The victim, Magdiel Sanchez, 35, of Oklahoma City, was trying to communicate with the police with sign language but was unable to do so in the midst of all the confusion.

Sanchez's father, who does not speak English, had just been involved in a Hit And Run accident involving his green truck and a car and had fled the scene. The younger Sanchez had not been involved in the accident and was sitting on his own front porch with the pipe strapped to his hand when officers arrived.

Sanchez apparently had been attacked by vicious neighborhood dogs in the past and had instituted the practice of strapping the pipe to his wrist as a means of self-protection when encountering the dogs.

Texas anti-immigrant legislation

This killing of a Hispanic man in Oklahoma comes on the heels of recent legislation in the neighboring state of Texas, SB4, which mandates that police enforce federal immigration laws when encountering people that they suspect are undocumented immigrants.

Under that law, Texas law enforcement officers no longer have the choice of focusing only on the alleged violations that the persons are suspected of having committed, i.e., speeding, drunk driving, robbery, etc., but also would be compelled to check on the citizenship and/or immigration status of those parties as well.

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There is widespread concern among law enforcement officials in Texas that because of SB4, Hispanics who are aware of various crimes having been committed no longer will approach officers to inform them of those activities, thus making their jobs more difficult and more dangerous.

Did not deserve this

As the news of this latest police shooting of a Hispanic man, which mirrors the shooting of an unarmed black man in Minnesota by police ten months ago in November 2016, became known, people who knew Sanchez reacted. The overall agreement among neighbors and friends of Sanchez was that he was a gentle person who was not a threat to anybody. As one neighbor, Julio Rayos, 37, stated: "He didn’t deserve to die like that," according to ABC News on Friday.

How it all came down

So much as one can surmise from the news reports, police and Sanchez's neighbors, first, the hit and run accident occurred between the green truck and the car. Nobody was killed or hurt seriously in the accident. Then Sanchez's father fled the accident.

Witnesses told police that the man driving the truck had fled the scene and pointed in the general direction to which he had fled.

When police got to Sanchez's house, they saw him sitting on the porch with the pipe strapped to his wrist. Police yelled at Sanchez to put the pipe down. Sanchez did not hear the police nor understand what they were saying. Sanchez tried to communicate with police with sign language. The police misinterpreted the sign language, thinking that he was threatening them with the pipe, and then shot and killed him. Sanchez was transported to the hospital but succumbed to his bullet wounds.

No body cameras

The Oklahoma City Police Department spokesperson informed the media that the officers on the scene were not equipped with body cameras. The spokesperson stated that they hope to equip their officers with body cameras soon. In the wake of the deadly shooting, the Department has prevailed upon the Oklahoma Association for the Deaf to advise them on how to deal with the hearing impaired and prevent similar misunderstandings from occurring in the future.