Local & Regional
9:01 am
Thu July 23, 2009

Trooper Suspended

Stroud, OK – Okla. trooper suspended for fight with paramedic

STROUD, Okla. (AP) An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper caught on video cussing and fighting with the driver of an ambulance carrying a patient has been suspended for five days.

A patrol spokesman said Trooper Daniel Martin was put on unpaid suspension Wednesday and must undergo an anger assessment.

A cell phone video of the May 24 scuffle that was widely distributed over the Internet shows Martin grabbing the paramedic, Maurice White Jr., in a choke hold around the neck.

Martin's dashboard-mounted camera showed him stopping the ambulance, cussing and accusing White of failing to yield. He also threatened to arrest him.

White's attorney said Wednesday that White was disappointed by the suspension. Martin's attorney, Gary James, did not return a message seeking comment.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Read the Text of Captain West's Media Statement:

HELLO, I'M CAPTAIN CHRIS WEST WITH THE OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE TODAY AND MAKING THIS PUBLIC STATEMENT POSSIBLE, AS WELL AS AVAILABLE TO THE CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.

THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO MAKE UP THE OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL FOLLOW IN A RICH HISTORY (72 YEARS IN LENGTH) OF HONORABLE SERVICE TO THE CITIZENS OF OUR STATE. WE ARE COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE SERVANTS OF THE PUBLIC TRUST, AND WE TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY VERY SERIOUSLY. TODAY..... WE ARE HERE (IN A PUBLIC MANNER) TO RELEASE THE ADMINISTRATIVE FINDINGS AND OUTCOME OF AN INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED IN OKFUSKEE COUNTY ON MAY 24th AND INVOLVED ONE OF OUR TROOPERS (TROOPER DANIEL MARTIN) AND MEMBERS OF A MUSKOGEE/CREEK NATION AMBULANCE CREW. AN INCIDENT THAT BECAME OF HIGH PUBLIC INTEREST.

AS AN AGENCY RESPONSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC WE SERVE, WE TAKE COMPLAINTS AGAINST OUR MEMBERS VERY SERIOUSLY... AS WE DO THE INVESTIGATIONS THAT ARE CONDUCTED INTO THESE COMPLAINTS. WHEN IN THE COURSE OF INVESTIGATIONS, WE DETERMINE THAT OUR EMPLOYEES CONDUCTED THEMSELVES CONTRARY TO WHAT IS EXPECTED, WE... (AS AN AGENCY) TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTION/S TO ADDRESS AND/OR CORRECT THOSE DEFICIENCIES.

CONCERNING THIS INCIDENT, OUR INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE FOLLOWING:

1. TROOPER MARTIN DID IN-FACT POSSESS PROBABLE CAUSE TO MAKE THE TRAFFIC STOP; AND JUSTIFICATION TO ARREST THE PARAMEDIC FOR OBSTRUCTING A POLICE OFFICER, AS A RESULT OF WHITE'S INTERFERENCE WITH THE TRAFFIC STOP. BUT, THE SITUATION COULD HAVE, AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED DIFFERENTLY.

2. THE DEMEANOR AND LANGUAGE USED BY MARTIN IN DEALING WITH THE DRIVER OF THE AMBULANCE WAS UNPROFESSIONAL, AND CONTRARY TO WHAT IS EXPECTED OF AN OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL TROOPER; BY BOTH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE PUBLIC.

3. MARTIN FAILED TO RECOGNIZE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE REASONABLE AND APPROPRIATE TO IMMEDIATELY ALLOW THE AMBULANCE TO CONTINUE TO THE HOSPITAL ONCE HE UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE WAS A PATIENT ONBOARD.

4. TROOPER MARTIN'S DECISION MAKING AND CONDUCT AT THE SCENE ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONDUCT EXPECTED BY AN OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL TROOPER, AND RESULTED IN "CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER."

THE FOLLOWING ACTION, AND/OR ACTIONS WILL BE TAKEN:

1. TROOPER MARTIN WILL SERVE A FIVE (05) DAY SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY IMPOSED AS BOTH DISCIPLINE AND CORRECTIVE IN NATURE.

THE SUSPENSION BECAME EFFECTIVE TODAY, WEDNESDAY, JULY 22ND AND WILL CONCLUDE ON TUESDAY, JULY 28TH.

2. MARTIN WILL BE REQUIRED TO REPORT TO A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PERSON FOR AN "ANGER" ASSESSMENT, WHICH MAY, OR MAY NOT RESULT IN FURTHER TRAINING AND/OR EDUCATION AS REQUIRED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

PURSUANT TO THE OKLAHOMA OPEN RECORDS ACT, AND THE ONGOING OPEN RECORDS REQUEST'S THAT MANY OF YOU HAVE MADE REGARDING THIS MATTER, A COPY OF THE LETTER OF DISCIPLINE HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO EACH OF YOU ALONG WITH A COPY OF THIS STATEMENT.

CONSIDERING THE EXISTENCE OF ONGOING LITIGATION WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN FILED IN THIS MATTER, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY HAS CHOSEN NOT TO TAKE ANY QUESTIONS.... OR MAKE ANY ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF ANY FUTURE COURT PROCEEDINGS, AND THE RIGHTS OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN SUCH.

AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK EACH ONE OF YOU FOR BEING HERE, AND MAKING THIS PUBLIC STATEMENT POSSIBLE. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO STATE THAT AT THIS MOMENT, MEMBERS OF THE OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL CONTINUE TO SERVE THE CITIZENS OF THIS STATE HONORABLY.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR STATEMENT.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.