Friday, June 12, 2009

Oklahoma Trooper vs. Paramedic, revisited

Last month I reported on an incident in which an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman by the name of Daniel Martin choked a paramedic because the Trooper believed the medic's EMT partner flipped him the bird.

More information has come to light. The DA has determined that there were crimes committed, but decided that charges would not serve the public interest. In other words, the police are not being held accountable for violating the law, and violating the civil rights of the motorists they pul over.

District Attorney Max Cook (District 24) sent the letter to Colonel Van M. Guillotte on the same day he publicized his decision not to file charges in the May 24 incident captured on video.

In the letter DA Cook wrote, "It is my opinion Trooper Martin's handling of this situation was inappropriate from the outset." Cook added, "... I expect law enforcement officers to treat all citizens with respect. I do not think this can be said about Trooper Martin's actions on May 24, 2009".

The letter was first made public by the Okemah News Leader.

The OHP now says it has closed the investigation into the confrontation between Trooper Daniel Martin and a Creek Nation ambulance crew. A day earlier a spokesman finally confirmed that Martin has been on administrative leave. OHP still refuses to release the dash-cam video from Trooper Martin's vehicle.

I wonder why that is? Could it be that the trooper is made to look more guilty on the dash cam video? Also of interest is the fact that Trooper Iker, the other Trooper present during the incident, claims that he sht off his dash cam during the incident, because he didn't think it would be needed. In yet another surprise admission, the Trooper admits that the woman who was in the patrol car with him during the incident was his wife. Must be nice to mix business with pleasure.

This trooper is a hothead, and is not fit to wear a badge or carry a gun. This cannot be an isolated incident. I wonder if this is the standard that the OHP aspires to. I also find it predictable that when a cop is accused of breaking the law, the dash cam video is always lost, missing, damaged, or the police just refuse to release it. The OHP is whitewashing the incident, and is also claiming that the Trooper did not violate policy, either through the use of force or by allowing hi wife to ride along with him.

I hope the Paramedic lawyers up and sues these Troopers and the OHP for violating his civil rights. In my opinion, this was aggravated battery- this was a person who (even according to the DA) committed a crime. The fact that he did this while armed makes this aggravated battery. Just because he is a cop does not excuse this in my mind, it in fact makes this worse.

Edited to add: Read the DA's letter to the OHP here. Hat Tip to STATter911 blog

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