Oklahoma State Trooper Will Not be Charged for Assaulting EMT

I dare say that any individual sans badge would be charged for putting his or her hands on the throat of an EMT. Click here to read the rest of the story.

UPDATE I:

Once I figure out how to insert a pdf without hotlinking, I’ll have the official statements from both the EMT and the Ambulance driver. Until then, here is the link to the pdfs where I found them. (See Update II)

I realize that this only represents one side of the story (I’ll see if I can find the OK Highway Patrol statements as well) but what I found there was quite revealing. The EMT explained to the trooper that they were committing a felony for assaulting a Paramedic in the line of duty. The EMT was resisting arrest because he was doing his damn job attending to his patient! (remember the patient?)

It seems to me that the police could have handled this better. If the EMT and driver were really out of line, they could have waited to make their arrests once the patient was safely transported to the ER and under the care of the ER physicians.

UPDATE II:

I found the original news article that contains the statements from the EMT and the driver. According to another article from the same website, DA Max Cook has requested the trooper’s dash board cam video be released to the public (even though he has officially closed the investigation and opted not to file charges). The dashboard cam video should answer the question of who hit who first as well as other questions; I’ll post the video either here or in a separate post if or when it becomes available.

UPDATE III

Oklahoma State Trooper vs. EMT Follow-up

  • http://theholycause.blogspot.com/ Greg

    No charges? Gosh, who would have expected that?

  • http://www.simplifylunch.com Jeff Molby

    The officer was attempting to place the EMT under arrest and the EMT resisted. A minor struggle ensued. That’s a justified use of force in any jurisdiction, regardless of the validity of the arrest itself.

    I can understand why tarran might be upset by this, but it should be a non-event for most libertarians.

  • http://www.no-treason.com Joshua Holmes

    I can’t be the only one creeped out that there’s a white cop with his hand on a black guy’s throat.

  • tfr

    From the original article:
    > The patient’s son recorded the clash on his cell phone.
    > He says the argument started after the ambulance failed to yield to troopers en route to a call.

    Interesting. So not only are they above average citizens, they’re above other first-responders, too.

  • SC

    “Interesting. So not only are they above average citizens, they’re above other first-responders, too.”

    Apparently there is a hierarchy in emergency response, or so I’m told, as to who may have to yield to who. For example, I’m reminded of a story told by a highway patrol officer of chewing out a volunteer first responder for failing to pull over to allow the patrolman to pass enroute to a call as they are required to. I’m guessing this was maybe a similar situation?

  • http://prosebeforehos.com alec

    Looks like another white guy that traded his robe for a badge.

  • southernjames

    Well, I watched the video. The cop told him he was under arrest, and strarted to try to cuff him, and the guy shoved back hard at the cop and started to struggle…leading to the scuffle and then the improper neck grab. I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t “tase” him – I suppose that might have been an alternative to the neck grab.

    Does this leave a sour taste in my mouth? Sure.

    But really – – is there ANY indication that these sorts of incidents – Cops using excessive force -are happening in any greater numbers or frequency now, in 2009, than anytime else in the past 50 years? Or with the advent of security cameras and cell phone cameras, and the internet – are we just seeing more of this stuff pop up for our viewing, than we used to? My guess is that institution of PC senstivity rules, increased training, and the risk of exposure via video like this, has probably led to it being statistically much SAFER to be pulled over to the side of some rural road today, than it was several decades ago. And I bet this kind of stuff happens WAY less often than it did in the 60’s or 70’s.

    I think there are news events of much greater potential signifance, which hit us Every Single Damn Day in this cluster f–ked Brave New World we now live in, than stuff like this. And which would be a hell of a lot more interesting to discuss on forums like this. I’m just saying.

    Let’s see – for today, here are two from among several examples:

    1. The revelation that this Administration (which means yet another campaign promise was a flat-out lie – gee what a surprise) is planning to Mirandize captured terrorists, as a part of its move back towards the 1990’s model of treating AQ attacks as a “criminal” issue, rather than a military one.

    What does this mean? Besides fewer captured prisoners and more prisoners being “killed while trying to evade capture” (as long as there is not a media imbed nearby of course). That much is obvious.

    2. The MSM’s relentless propaganda barrage over the past 24 hours, to classify the Holocaust Museum lunatic shooter as being connected to that scary “right wing extremism.” (Ignoring the FACT that the guy was a 911 Truther, hated Bill O’Reilly, hated “neocons” (aka conservative Jews who served with and advised the Bush Admin), hated Bush, and was a crazed Anti-Semite (uh, its the OTHER wing, not the right wing, that marches in sympathy with Hamas and Hezbollah)). “Right wing extremism” has become defined as whatever the Administration’s lackeys in Pravda want it to be defined as.

    What’s the agenda in play, for the repeated and continued use of that phrase? There’s always an underlying agenda with the Alinsky crowd.

    Call me crazy, but that bothers me just a tad bit more than videos of a cop here and there who loses his shit and acts inappropriately because somebody struggles to resist arrest or leads him on a high speed chase. I am NOT excusing the cop behavior. It just isn’t rating as high on my Richter Scale of shock waves sending this country down the toilet.

  • tfr

    Well I’ll sure be happy to know that the cops will arrive first, before the ambulance and paramedics, at any incident where I am injured.

  • tfr

    BTW, southernjames,
    Yes we are just seeing more of it due to technology. Back around the Rodney King thing, I did some research. It seems that kind of thing was happening on average every 1-2 weeks, we just never saw it on TV. So do we all feel better now?

  • http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/ Stephen Littau

    tfr, I do feel better that these incidents are on the web and on TV. Why? Because they become exposed and the camera doesn’t lie.

  • http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/ Stephen Littau

    James:

    There’s nothing “PC” about expecting the police to conduct themselves professionally. Most of them do but those who do not should be held accountable. Any public servant from beat cop to POTUS should be held accountable to the people by the rule of law.

  • southernjames

    I don’t know if we all “should feel better now.” The answer is…it depends.

    Now that we have all this portable video out there, combined with the internet as a delivery source for that video, we can verify that it (“it” apparently being a cop using excessive force in one way or another) is happening approximately 24-35 times a year – across the nation.

    So my question was – is it happening with ever increasing frequency (from a per capita perpective – per 1000 people) now; or has it actually DECLINED with the advent of more training, risk of video exposure, etc.?

    Regardless, if it (unnecessarily excessive use of force to effect an arrest) DOES occur on average, a grand total of 35+ times over the course of an entire year, throughout the entire nation – then that means from a statistical standpoint, in my humongous state of Florida, with what – 18 MILLION residents, a Rodney King or similar event MAY happen ….perhaps ONE time in all of 2009, in the ENTIRE state of Florida, and in the course of TENS of thousands of police traffic stops and arrests.

    And, from all these videos we’ve seen, the odds appear to OVERWHELMINGLY indicate that IF and when it does happen, it will involve a suspect attempting to evade or thwart an arrest.

    So that leads me back to the main point of my post…..

  • southernjames

    The use of the descriptive phrase “PC” was improper on my part. I was attempting to in a short-hand way, say – the extra “sensitivity” type of training on how to talk to people first as opposed to just gruffly smack them with the nightstick first, talk later approach.

    Which I believe cops get more of nowadays in their training than they got in say, the 1950’s.

    Which is a very good thing, and I am glad it is done.

    And which is why (in addition to risk of video exposure, civil lawsuits nowadays which never would have been filed 30 years ago, etc.) I believe that it more likely rather than less likely that police brutality incidents, per capita, have PROBABLY declined over the past 50 years.

  • Akston

    During a recent episode of Freedom Watch, Judge Napolitano described the video camera as “the new gun”, in terms of its ability to defend its owner from abuse. I think there is something to that.

    Whether the current examples airing abuses which are on the increase or decrease, I think there might be wide agreement that the truth of video can be a welcome addition. And whether the video incriminates or exonerates a government official, I see it as working as a force for justice.

    I realize that the job of peace officer is more difficult than I can probably imagine, but along with the delegated authority to use force comes responsibility and training to act in a composed manner. If the officer can’t handle that, he shouldn’t hold that position.

    I understand James’ point about where each of us might prioritize these issues in light of current historic-level events. And though there are indeed way bigger fish frying, I still find police abuses worthy of condemnation.

    Another parallel that occurs to me is how video reporting has affected public reaction to issues like war. Coverage of combat and bodies returning from Vietnam made that conflict unfold very differently than WWII or Korea. In the Gulf Wars, images of returning bodies were prohibited by the government (despite the First Amendment), and reporters were “embedded” (read: controlled).

    Personally, I’m a big fan of the disinfecting light of video in public spaces.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    James:

    I’m not going to argue your statistics one way or another but I suspect that you are right that police misconduct is probably not as bad as it once was. I suspect that incidents such as the ones I post here are quite rare…that’s what make them newsworthy (generally the news reports the unusual as opposed to the usual).

    So why do I dwell on these relatively few cases? My main reason is that people have entirely too much faith in government agents to “do the right thing.” Whenever a police officer testifies against a suspect, who are jurors more likely to believe assuming the case is mostly circumstantial and it’s the word of the cop vs. the word of the accused? Too many people I know give far too much ‘benefit of the doubt’ to the police officer and forget that it’s up to the state to PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the accused committed the crime. As we have seen, police are human beings too and human beings lie (even when there is evidence which contradicts them). People should judge the credibility of an individual based on the integrity of the individual not whatever occupation s/he happens to have.

  • Akston

    More precisely, I’m a big fan of private citizens using video in public spaces to defend themselves from government abuse. This is quite distinct from government video surveillance in public spaces.

    Private Citizens use video to defend themselves; government video surveillance is often used to push at the borders of the Fourth Amendment.

    To paraphrase a quote I couldn’t find with a quick search: “Citizens should be free to pursue any activity which is not expressly prohibited by just laws; governments should be prohibited from pursuing any activity not expressly permitted by just laws.”

  • Akston

    Too many people I know give far too much ‘benefit of the doubt’ to the police officer and forget that it’s up to the state to PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the accused committed the crime.

    I see that too. And I agree: the burden of proof remains with the state.

  • SC

    You know, I’ve watched this three or four times now, and read the EMT’s report, and regardless of whether the driver was right or wrong about pulling over I can’t see the justification for the behavior. Why pull over an ambulance? Surely there is a way the officer could have confirmed they were delivering a patient? If he had a beef, could he not have followed them to the hospital and THEN dealt with it after they delivered the patient?

    Having said that, in response to the comment that too many people give a benefit of a doubt to police officers, I’d say it does cut both ways – there are (admittedly smaller) number of people that automatically assume the police are WRONG in their actions when a complaint is made.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    With regard to “important issues,” I think we cover a pretty impressive variety of topics here at The Liberty Papers both nationally and locally. I tend to like to write about issues most other people are not. I think local issues are important. I also think it’s worth noting that we deal with the police more in our daily lives than we do with our congress critters and the president.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    “Having said that, in response to the comment that too many people give a benefit of a doubt to police officers, I’d say it does cut both ways – there are (admittedly smaller) number of people that automatically assume the police are WRONG in their actions when a complaint is made.”

    That is certainly true as well SC. That’s what is great about having these things preserved on video. I can assure you that I’ve seen many other videos where the cops acted appropriately. I’m not one of those who assume the worst about the police. I make judgments on a case-by-case basis.

  • Akston

    Like the recent incident of the 72 year old woman in Texas for instance. On first blush, I was predictably outraged that a big tough policeman would tase a 72 year old woman. How could that possibly be defensible?

    After watching it a few times, I’m struck by how she refuses to comply with an order to back out of the dangerous roadway, how she dares the officer to arrest her and tase her, how she starts to head back to her truck after being informed she’s under arrest, how she struggles against his attempt to cuff her.

    What should we expect the officer to do? Forcing her into the cuffs would probably break bones in a septuagenarian. A taser hit is painful (and admittedly dangerous for certain heart conditions), but it’s only temporary pain. The alternative is what? Forgo the arrest?

    She could have accepted the ticket, then fought it in court (and probably won due to sympathy). Fighting it in the street is not a good answer.

    As for the EMT in the original post, I think the officer should have been charged and disciplined or fired. I also think the EMT should have submitted to arrest, if the other EMT could still deliver the patient safely. The arrested EMT could then crucify the officer in court. And whatever else they chose to do, detaining a man by the throat is very unlikely to be sanctioned police procedure.

    I agree with Stephen: these incidents should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

  • Aimee

    Akston, the woman has already obtained a lawyer and is thinking of suing. I hope she loses. Just because she was 72 shouldn’t matter, she was obviously fiesty and resisting her ticket. But of course it would be the officers fault if he had let her walk into traffic instead of pushing her back, what a bastard (dripping with sarcasm).

  • southernjames

    “I think local issues are important. I also think it’s worth noting that we deal with the police more in our daily lives than we do with our congress critters and the president.”

    Well, I suppose that depends, now doesn’t it. Perhaps you’re the type who gets in bar fights, is a reckless driver, and is also a chronic jaywalker. As for me, I don’t deal with police in my daily life…er.. approximately, EVER. Unless slowing down when I see a cruiser laying in wait with a radar gun counts. I think the last time I spoke to a cop was when I got my last speeding ticket about four years ago.

    And since I did not lead him on a high speed chase, and since I was not high on angel dust when he did succeed in getting me to stop, and since I am not a known drug dealing felon who then led him on a foot chase, and since I did not get all agitated and struggle and yell and carry on to high heaven – but instead just was calm and polite and gave him my licence and registration (although I will admit I did try unsuccessfully to whine my way out of it) — I ended up NOT being the one, two, or three victims in my entire state that year, of excessive use of force by a cop – and so you’ll find no video of me driving, or running, or struggling, or sqwawking away until I get tased or kicked or neck-grabbed, anywhere on the internet.

    But whatever floats your boat – by all means post those videos every time one surfaces. A little variety from the usual, is certainly fine with me. But I’m sorry, I just can’t get all that worked up about it.

    The things that make me uncomfortable right now, tend more towards stuff like wondering whether we are witnessing an INTENTIONAL Cloward-Pliven, and/or Gramscian sort of strategy happening before our very eyes, as my jaw hangs open in disbelief; or if it is simply gross cluelessness and incompetance we’re witnessing. I would really like to know which it is. And I’m thinking that the events now unfolding on a virtual daily basis, are going to be GREATLY impacting our “daily lives” and those of generations to come.

  • Akston

    The things that make me uncomfortable right now, tend more towards stuff like wondering whether we are witnessing an INTENTIONAL Cloward-Pliven, and/or Gramscian sort of strategy happening before our very eyes, as my jaw hangs open in disbelief; or if it is simply gross cluelessness and incompetance we’re witnessing.

    I’ll go with Hanlon’s Razor on that one (though I like your references), but Hanlon’s can still sever a country’s financial jugular just as well.

    When federal authority is assumed to be miraculous because it is delivered in pleasant tones, can ignorant faith in that authority on a national scale be manifested in assumptions that local authority figures are also infallible? And can that assumption be held by the local authority figures themselves?

    Does America’s current degeneration into the expediencies of paternal authoritarianism permeate all the way down?

    Doesn’t history kind of bear out that highly troubled populations often seek magical powerful authoritarian rescue? And do we really want to tolerate results like that?

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    What about THIS case James? This was not a drug dealer leading the police on a high speed chase; if the statements from the EMT and driver are accurate, this is a case of a misunderstanding turned road rage on the part of the police. Does this case not get you “worked up” even a little? I guarantee that if it were you they had the misunderstanding with (you who never, ever do anything wrong) you would have far less empathy from others than an EMT.

    What if it was your mother being taken to the hospital via ambulance but the police put her at risk because they wanted to have a pissing match with the EMT transporting her, might you get worked up then?

    While you may never find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, the fact is some people (who like you don’t go out of their way looking for trouble) find themselves on the wrong side of the law. There’s probably a 99.9% chance you will never find yourself the victim of a wrong door no-knock midnight drug raid but just because it will likely ‘never happen to you’ does this mean we should look the other way when it happens to someone else?

    I can’t make you or anyone else care about anything (incidentally, judging by my lack of response to my Sotomayor posts, something I think you would agree is an important issue, apparently no one ‘cares’ about that either).

    All I know is that when I learn about cases like this, I can’t help but not “get worked up” and sharing it with others. Whether or not readers choose to care is completely up to them.

  • southernjames

    “I guarantee that if it were you they had the misunderstanding with (you who never, ever do anything wrong)…” I do wrong stuff all the time. One thing I have never done, however, is violently swing my arm at a cop who told me I was under arrest to try to evade being cuffed, and then struggling further.

    Videos like that one, and every other one I’ve ever seen, reinforce it in me, that such a reaction, no matter how pissed off or legitimately wronged I have been, is not going to end well for me.

    That does not in ANY way shape or form suggest that I am supporting what that cop did to the EMT.

    I have never disagreed one iota, that cops MUST be held to the very highest of standards and that EVERY single means should be taken, through: proper training, deterrent lawsuits, disciplinary action, public awareness, etc., so that incidents like this one, are EXTREMELY rare and extremely isolated. (Total elimination will of course not be possible until human police officers are replaced by robots).

    Which it APPEARS at least, that they are.

    So again, that is why I am not getting all worked up about whether we are turning into a “police state,” when something like this comes along. That is NOT the same as saying “look the other way.” This reminds me of some of the hysteria which followed the post (it may have been Brad) about how that big bad awful government can just “steal” your property and pay you “whatever they want” for it, to install a monument. Our freedoms and liberty may be crashing down and disappearing before our very eyes for a lot of very terrifying reasons…but sorry, the power of eminent domain ain’t on the list. Or if it is, it’s WAY down there.

    And we may very well live a “police state” in about 5-10 years, with a domestic army of Federal brown-shirts monitoring our every activity. But the reasons to fear this coming down the pike at us, do not include the EMT incident as a causative factor, or leading indicator. IMO.

    As for the lack of responses to your Sotomayer posts, I do indeed care very deeply about this issue. However, I am constrained by time and must pick and choose when I can post on issues – and with respect to THAT particular one – there had already been an earlier post which discussed her now infamous loathesome quote, which I believe I commented on. But then, and I can’t speak for anyone else just me, I kind of lost interest in the whole Sotomayer thing after that, because it is a done deal. She’s going to be the next SC justice, and there is not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

  • SWilliams

    Very interesting thread.

    James, I agree on there being bigger issues at hand in our daily lives and for me the lingua tertii imperil (Victor Klemperer) that has seemed to turn every ripple into a tidal wave of crisis and imminent peril over the past 10 to 15 years has been equally troubling and IMO has filtered to the local level. Is it being used as a tool for the eventual turning over of the constitution by a defined group or simply an extension of politics and the marketing required to get elected and consolidate power? I don’t know but every day I’m more certain the outcome will be the same no matter the intention.

    Personally, I think the trooper was wrong, there surely are procedures in place to deal with scofflaw EMTs not yielding to troopers in an appropriate manner, pulling him over while in rout to the hospital to make his point is asinine.

    There was a time, not long ago, when it wasn’t necessarily a crime to put an officer in his place when he overstepped the bounds of sense and decency.

    It reminds me of something my grandmother did back in the Lafayette in the mid 80’s. She lived on 9th st. hill and one day a man staggering down the sidewalk fell in her yard. She called the police, at the same time, while on the phone a cruiser pulls up and the officer begins to roughly pick up and drop the man in an attempt to get him to respond, not a Rodney King, but not necessary either. I didn’t know what was happening and hearing the commotion came around the corner just in time to see my grandmother run down the stairs and body slam the cop placing herself between him and the man on the ground. She then, pointing her finger in the officers face, basically told him that he wasn’t smart enough to determine on sight if the man was drunk, having a seizure, heart attack or diabetic reaction and she didn’t’ care how tough he thought he was he would need to go through her before he laid another finger on the man. I still laugh at it, but he stopped and didn’t’ charge her or cuff her and thank God they didn’t have tasers then.

  • southernjames

    Yeah SW, today your Grandma probably would get tased. Serves her right!! (Just kidding!! :) )

    Looking back though… back in the “good old” Indiana I grew up in, in the 60s – once you got outside of Lafayette or Indy and were on a rural road…..

    Well, if you were a minority and you got pulled over for whatever reason (or looked Jewish, or looked like a hippy, etc., etc.), well…..hmmmm… a cop car with a couple of state troopers in it, it is almost 100% certain that they would both be white men. And that they would not have had much if any training in the areas of conflict avoidance, “talking down” an excited citizen, anger management, etc.; probably no requirement (or ability?) to “call in” the license of the stopped driver for a computerized check, and there would be NO camera mounted on their patrol car, let alone ANY potential cameras anyplace else (phones, security cameras, etc.). And they’d be coming from a department which had NEVER been sued in its history for police brutality. And coming from a very sheltered and segregated environment – their entire lives. (Indiana may not have had “de jure” Jim Crow like in the south, but they sure had it “de facto”). So here it is, rural Indiana in 1965, and what’s to stop them from giving said driver a little “lesson in manners” if they are so inclined….and who is ever going to find out?

    Contrast 1965, on Route 52 outside of Lafayette, to today, 2009. Both cops MUCH more highly trained. Possibly college as opposed to high school educated. At least a reasonable chance as opposed to zero chance, that one of them will be black or hispanic and/or a female. Camera mounted on the car. Cameras on cell phones, and depending on where the stop occurs, perhaps mounted elsewhere too. Computerized background checks; verification back at HQ as to where they are, who they have stopped, and what they are doing. Departments which have had to weather lots of litigation over the past 20+ years, which does over time result in altered mandated policies/behavior…And even if both are white men, they are officers who have grown up in a more diverse and integrated environment than existed 40+ years ago.

    I think the odds of that being a peaceful and professionally conducted stop are better now, than in 1965.

    In so many areas of society, we have (in my opinion) gone backwards and downhill. But the conduct of law enforcement officers in terms of their interaction with the general populace, is one area where I think we have made some positive progress in the last half-century.

    Another example is in the area of crowd control. If you look at video from the 1930s or 40’s or 50s of how strikers or protesters or marchers or sports stadium field rushing celebraters were treated – in the “olden days” it consisted of cops on foot and on horseback, simply wading and riding into the mob trampling people with their horses, and swinging their nightsticks and busting skulls.

  • SWilliams

    With my gran, it was out of character for her, but she had noticed the man walking oddly and he proved to be diabetic but for me it doesn’t bring a longing to be ‘back home again” as much as shows more a sense of equality that existed. She saw the situation one way, had spent a lifetime in the health field, also was an appointed member of city and county gov, it was in her yard and she took control in the way she viewed fit, forcefully, and got an ambulance there. She had no fear of the officer but then no one sued the city/him or pursued punishment. Life went on with out it needing to be turned into a massive event, maybe that is because no had a camera.

    I don’t deny that the individuals are better educated and more professional, no more former HS football stars roughing up people with low blood sugar, but the rules and training have changed.

    The problem to me is that highly educated and well intentioned people will over step their boundaries when they feel that their actions are warranted and just. Then when you add to that training that views every individual as a potential threat, a society that can’t dish out enough punishment along with rules reinforcing a sense of superiority, you’re asking for trouble from a minority that enjoys the power.

    The last time I had any interaction with law enforcement as an offender was about 6 years ago, I was pulled over for flicking a cigarette out of my window, and it was late at night so with the questions I think it had more to do with a thought that I may have been drinking. Nothing happened, I drove off, but what struck me was the process. Lights in my mirrors so that I couldn’t see, the officer standing behind me so I couldn’t see him and as I have noticed when driving past stops, I’m sure with his hand on his weapon, that first intimidating communication sets the tone for the rest of the encounter and I can understand how it makes some people extremely uncomfortable and there reactions illogical and maybe, just maybe, gets normally law abiding citizens to lash out.

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