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FBI investigates whether Oklahoma City police violated man's civil rights

Robin Leander Howard, 54, died in June after a physical confrontation with two patrol officers. His family members and their attorney met with Police Chief Bill Citty for two hours Thursday.
by Juliana Keeping Published: November 1, 2012
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The state medical examiner listed Howard's manner of death as homicide and the cause of death as acute pneumonia caused by blunt force trauma to the chest. The autopsy report lists numerous injuries, including several broken ribs and a badly fractured left arm.

The police department concluded its own criminal investigation into the incident. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater announced Oct. 17 he will not file charges against the two police officers.

Slane said Thursday the family learned one of the officers involved is the grandson of the police chief's administrative assistant. The potential conflict of interest worries Howard's family, Slane said.

Citty confirmed Coffey is his assistant's grandson. He said he has fired officers over excessive use of force before, and that interpersonal relationships have not played into those decisions.

“I'll make a decision that's in the best interest of the department,” he said.

FBI spokesman Rick Rains said he the bureau doesn't confirm or deny its ongoing investigations.

It's common practice for police departments to refer cases of this nature to the FBI for a potential investigation, he said.

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.
by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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