Police Were Not Wearing Body Cams During Fatal Shooting In Sallisaw

SALLISAW, Okla. (KFSM) — Sallisaw Police were involved in a fatal shooting Thursday (March 14) morning, but footage of the incident will not be released because there isn't any.

The police department does have body cameras for every officer on patrol, but during this shooting, the officers weren't wearing them.

Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane confirmed that the officer-involved shooting took place just south of Sallisaw on Highway 59 near the I-40 interchange.

Sallisaw Police received a call early Thursday from someone describing a suspicious person they say matched a manhunt suspect out of Missouri. Two officers responded and found a man in his 20s matching the description from the caller walking along Highway 59.

When officers tried to talk to him, they say 27-year-old Shawn Watie pulled a knife, and Sallisaw Officer Devin Harriman and Investigator Coty Biles opened fire.

Usually, body camera footage from an officer would be part of the investigation, but Sallisaw Captain Jeff Murray says Officer Harriman was at home at the time with his patrol car.

"He was called out on his regular days off due to another officer being sick," Murray said. "From the time he got in his car and was available for calls...29 seconds later this officer was assigned to this call on highway 59 with the possibility of it being this escapee from Missouri."

Murray says Officer Harriman was called out before he could stop by the police station to get his docked body camera.

Investigator and Detective Coty Biles does not wear a police uniform and was at the station when he was called out to the scene. Murray says Sallisaw investigators do not wear body cameras.

Both officers are on paid leave while the OSBI investigates the deadly shooting.

After each shift, officers have to dock their cameras to charge at the station. They also can download footage to the cloud from their entire shift, but sometimes that can be a lengthy process.

Murray says the police department only has two stations that dock multiple body cameras and it does not have individual docking stations.

Murray says the department stopped using dash cams and put that money towards the body cameras in hopes of capturing more useful angles from an officer.

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