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If you aren’t familiar with the concept of felony murder laws, you might be shocked by what you’re about to read. Police in Oklahoma readily admit that they shot and killed an innocent 19-year-old girl. However, it’s her boyfriend who is facing criminal charges, not the officer who fatally shot her.
Last week, on September 3rd, 2014, Juan Aguilera Perez got into Karen Cifuentes’ car in Oklahoma City while attempting to flee police. How much she knew about the situation is unknown. Police claim they were investigating an illegal drug transaction, likely involving Perez, and they pursued him when he left. Officers also claim that the car Cifuentes was driving clipped an officer, Sgt. Jeran Stevens, who then fired at the vehicle and killed Cifuentes.
According to a Facebook profile, it appears that Karen Cifuentes may have been pregnant, though an autopsy report will have to be released before that can be confirmed.
Concerning factors about this case include the fact that police are not disclosing much information about the drug deal they were investigating. The criminal background of the other party involved besides Juan Aguilera Perez seems to imply it may have been a marijuana deal. The other issue of concern is whether deadly force was really necessary in this case. The officer in question was clearly not severely injured, as he was immediately able to accurately fire his weapon after being “hit.” He was treated at a hospital and released. Have we really reached a point in this country where police can shoot teenage girls with just the claim the vehicle was coming at them as a defense?
The felony murder charges come into play against Perez because he was allegedly committing a crime at the time of Cifuentes’ murder, which under the law makes him culpable. Not only does he have to deal with the death of his girlfriend (and likely his unborn baby), but he has to face criminal charges that could put him in prison for years related to her terrible death. This is not justice; this is a travesty. That crime? Again, it was likely the sale of marijuana.
Drug prohibition costs lives, including the life of young Karen Cifuentes and possibly that of her unborn baby. Perez was pursued with deadly force, all because he was allegedly involved with a black market transaction, likely a cannabis sale.
Cifuentes had no criminal record. Her family is trying to raise funeral funds so that they can properly bury Karen. Please consider donating here or sharing this story to help inspire others to donate.
For previous Ladybud articles about victims of the War on Drugs, click here.