By Steve Pomper
A judge has finally sustained Blackwell Police Department Lieutenant John Mitchell’s motion to quash criminal charges brought by an obviously errant DA. In a ruling we believe should have never been necessary, but are delighted it has finally arrived, Lt. Mitchell will not face manslaughter charges.
Let’s remind those who, forgivably, may have lost track over the seemingly interminable duration of this case, essentially what happened. After the harrowing May 2019 incident, multiple investigations cleared Lt. Mitchell of any wrongdoing. He’d helped to end the rampage of an active shooter, driving through Blackwell, shooting at objects, vehicles, and people (even her mother), including police officers.
During an ordeal that would have stressed even Job, which has lasted since May 20th, 2019, Lt. Mitchell has exhibited nothing but dignity and grace. He also has never wavered in his determination to return to where he belongs, serving the people of the community he loves.
While anyone would have forgiven him for any amount of venom he may have wanted to spew at the DA and the judge (the DA for the charges and the judge for the delay), he always kept his public comments measured.
Now, the judge has finally sustained the order to quash. Much of why the DA ever brought charges and why it took so long to arrive at this resolution remains a mystery. Many cite the DA’s likely political motivations. But the same people have equal difficulty understanding why the judge allowed such a torturous delay in issuing what seemed like an obvious ruling.
The main contention for this assessment is virtually nothing has changed since the original investigations that cleared Lt. Mitchell. Certainly, nothing to justify the initial murder and later manslaughter charges.
Regardless, Lt. Mitchell and his family deserve all the celebrating they can muster. They deserve every moment of peace this long-awaited order can bring. And, as for the people of Blackwell, Oklahoma, they will be a safer community for having one of their most able protectors fully returned to them.
The NPA will return with a more comprehensive story about this literal travesty of justice soon.