GUYMON, OKLA. — Seaboard Foods employee Chiewelthap Mariar, 26, died in a police shooting at the company’s Guymon, Okla., pork processing plant on Jan. 9.
According to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) report, Seaboard Foods requested assistance from the Guymon Police Department to deal with a disgruntled employee who was agitated.
“Following repeated attempts to bring calm to the situation, we requested assistance from the Guymon Police as we felt it was in the best interest for everyone’s safety,” Seaboard Foods said.
After police arrived at the scene, Mariar produced a knife and advanced toward officers, the OSBI report said. After efforts to deescalate the incident, the officers tased Mariar, which proved unsuccessful to prevent his advancements. An officer then pulled out his service weapon and shot Mariar.
Mariar was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
OSBI’s investigation is ongoing, and Seaboard Foods said it is working fully and cooperatively with investigators.
“We express our heartfelt sorrow to Chiewelthap Mariar’s family, coworkers, friends and those affected by his death following an incident at our Guymon processing plant involving the Guymon Police Department on Jan. 9,” Seaboard Foods said. “Providing our employees with a safe work environment and their well-being is extremely important to us.”
Following the shooting, Seaboard Foods ceased operations for the remainder of the workday and the following day. Throughout the week, the company provided counseling for employees both in-person and through a 24/7 phone service.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) District Union Local 2 released a statement in response to the incident.
“Chiewelthap’s senseless death shows that workplace issues should be dealt with sensitively in order to deescalate them, with the police called on to intervene only when necessary to protect workers’ lives and address serious safety concerns,” said Martin Rosas, president of the local union. “The local police did not take sufficient measures to protect our members and this worker — brandishing their weapons and ultimately taking the life of a 26-year-old man who had his whole life before him.”
UFCW District Union Local 2 represents meatpacking workers across Kansas, Missouri and the Oklahoma panhandle, including 2,000 workers at Seaboard Foods’ Guymon facility.