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Tulsa police officer indicted after March shooting

Tulsa Police Department (KTUL)
Tulsa Police Department (KTUL)
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The Tulsa Police Department said one of its own received an indictment from the Oklahoma Multi-County Grand Jury on Thursday.

On March 21, 2020, officers responded to a suspicious person inside a car near 31st and the Broken Arrow Expressway around 1:15 a.m.

Officer Aaron Russell spoke to the man inside the vehicle, later identified as Michael Delaney, and allegedly noticed a pistol behind the center console. He informed other officers at the scene and started telling Delaney to get out of the vehicle.

Delaney ignored the commands and refused to get out of the car. Russell opened the driver's door and tried to pull him out of the vehicle. Delaney then started driving away with Russell still leaning in the vehicle.

As he was driving away, Russell fired multiple shots at Delaney, hitting him once in the upper left shoulder.

Delaney hopped out of the car and was found several blocks away, hiding under a house. He was initially arrested for possession of firearm (after former conviction of a felony), assault with a deadly weapon, one felony warrant and three misdemeanor warrants.

After reviewing the in-car video and body camera video, detectives determined the evidence did not support the initial belief that officers were "assaulted with a vehicle." Also, the firearm was apparently an airgun. Charges against Delaney were immediately amended.

Later in court, Delaney pleaded guilty to obstructing Russell.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin and District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler reviewed the investigation once it was completed and determined it should be presented to the Oklahoma Multi-County Grand Jury. The grand jury responded with an indictment against Russell for misdemeanor reckless handling of a firearm.

Kunzweiler's office released the following statement:

Today we were informed by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office that an indictment of Tulsa Police Officer Aaron Russell was rendered by the State’s Multi-County Grand Jury. Our Office is familiar with the investigation of Officer Russell after it was initially presented to us by the Tulsa Police Department’s Detective Division. After consultation with the Tulsa Police Department, to include Chief Wendell Franklin, it was agreed upon to present the investigation to the Multi-County Grand Jury. It is our understanding that the indictment will be delivered to the Office of the Tulsa County District Attorney on September 4, 2020 for formal filing.
Officer Russell has been cooperative with this investigation from the outset. We have been in communication with counsel for Officer Russell, and arrangements will be made for Officer Russell to appear before the District Court of Tulsa County following the filing of the indictment. As in all criminal matters the law of the State of Oklahoma and the law of the United States of America is clear. A person who is accused of a crime is presumed innocent. That presumption remains with that person until and unless a judge or a jury determines otherwise.

Next, the case will be reviewed in District Court.

Russell has been on administrative leave since the shooting in March, and he will remain on leave until the case is complete.

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