June 14, 2009
A recently released police dash camera video reveals the truth about an “altercation” between Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Daniel Martin and EMT worker Maurice White on May 24.
The video, released by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, clearly shows Martin assaulting White on the side of the road in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. A cell phone video of the assault posted on YouTube received well over a million views and was the second most-watched video on May 30.
Fox 23 in Tulsa filed a Freedom of Information request for the dash cam but the OHP stonewalled the request. Late on June 12, the department finally released the video. It was posted on YouTube on June 13. Earlier reports in the media claimed police had turned off the dash cam before Martin assaulted the EMT worker.
“We’ve been well aware of the fact that this incident has drawn enormous attention, but made the decision to protect the integrity of the investigation, any and all relevant evidence, as well as the rights of the department employees,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Chris West told Fox.
In fact, police did not release the video because it shows Martin assaulting White without provocation. After threatening White and putting him in a chokehold, Martin called for backup. He repeatedly threatened the EMT operators, unleashed obscenities, and pinned White against the EMT vehicle.
The police video confirms what witnesses on the scene reported — Martin was out of control and assaulted the EMT worker.
Police initially said the EMT vehicle failed to yield and this was the reason Martin confronted White, assaulted him and threatened to arrest him. But the police video reveals that the EMT was unable to immediately yield due to a car pulling over in the breakdown lane on the side of the road.
[efoods]”He slowed down, and as the car was getting over, that’s when he passed us,” Kenyada Davis told News 9 in Oklahoma City. The EMT was transporting Davis’ elderly mother to the hospital when the incident occurred.
Martin claims the paramedics not only failed to yield but they also flipped him off. White and EMT driver Paul Franks said it was a gesture of surprise and Martin misunderstood.
Martin claimed he was responding to a stolen car report. It was later revealed his wife was in the police car. After the cell phone video appeared on YouTube and the OHP came under withering criticism, Martin was put on paid leave.
The Okfuskee County District Attorney’s Office initially said it would charge White with obstructing a police officer. On June 5, however, Okfuskee County decided not to charge the EMT or the trooper and announced the case would be dropped. The dash cam video clearly shows White did not obstruct Martin and the cop assaulted the EMT worker.
“After careful consideration off all fact and circumstance, it does not appear it would be appropriate to file charges against (Maurice) White or any other person involved. Although, I do not condone their actions, I do not believe that filing charges at this time would serve the best interests of the public or interests of justice. It has been my experience that emergency service providers generally work well together, and it was disappointing to see a situation where that clearly did not happen,” district attorney Max Cook told KTUL 8.
The OHP attempt to stonewall requests for the police video demonstrate the lengths the state will go to cover up the violent behavior of police officers who are nothing more than jackbooted thugs ruthlessly preying on not only emergency workers but the public at large. Increasingly, police departments around the country are hiring thugs – many veterans of the war in Iraq – who are expected to act like brownshirted gangsters and react violently when citizens question or resist their criminal behavior.
Trooper Daniel Martin needs to be fired and a message sent that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated. If you believe Martin should be fired, sign the “Fire Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Daniel Martin” petition and send the OHP and police around the country a strong message.