A Clarksville firefighter who is also a police officer is off both jobs after he pepper-sprayed an infant during a domestic dispute involving his estranged wife.

As of Monday morning, Charles Edelen has been suspended without pay from his job at the fire department and has resigned from the Clarksville police department.

The incident happened on June 23 when according to police, an argument broke out at the Edelens’ home. Samantha Edelen had a child with another man while the couple was separated. While the Edelens were attempting to reconcile, the father of the baby, Darius Henderson, came to the house.

According to court records, Edelen became enraged when his estranged wife refused to put pants on when Henderson arrived at the home. Edelen then allegedly pepper-sprayed his wife to force her compliance with his order to put on her pants.

According to police, Henderson and the baby were also sprayed with the chemical agent.

The baby was rushed to Kosair Children’s Hospital with burns to her face, eyes swollen shut, and breathing problems.

Edelen has since pleaded not guilty to the three counts of battery he now faces after this incident.

In a bizarre manner, Edelen’s attorney attempted to justify the actions of this former cop by nonchalantly implying that the officer’s use of pepper spray was his best option. Apparently, this was much better than shooting his wife after she refused to put on pants.

“Yes, in fact, pepper spray was used — which is the least physically intrusive way to deal with someone who you can’t get to do something,” Edelen’s attorney, Larry Wilder said. “It’s preferred by police. It’s preferred over guns, obviously, and that was his choice to try to remove someone from his home, with the least intrusive way to do that when they refused.”

Edelen is currently out of jail after posting bond.


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