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At least one Oklahoma City police officer investigated in airport arrest

Man who sought to see Newt Gingrich was Tasered, dragged through Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, report says.
by Juliana Keeping Modified: March 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm •  Published: March 23, 2012

At least one Oklahoma City police officer is under investigation for conduct related to the Feb. 20 arrest of a man at Will Rogers World Airport who claimed he was with the CIA and had documents to share with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who was visiting in Oklahoma City that day.

Police used a Taser several times on James Jay Heidebrecht, 53, of Oklahoma City, after a scuffle broke out during his arrest on complaints of trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting officers, an incident report said.

After Heidebrecht refused to stand up, he was dragged through the airport to a police office, where he was given a medical exam before being taken to the Oklahoma County jail, according to the report.

Now the department is investigating whether the police involved in his arrest broke any laws.

Concerns about actions of officers involved in the arrest have led the department's office of professional standards to review the incident.

The investigative report will be forwarded to the district attorney to see if laws were broken, according to a news release issued by police Friday.

The review includes the manner in which Heidebrecht was removed during the arrest, the news release states.

The department is only naming one officer in the investigation so far, Capt. Dexter Nelson said via email Friday.

Sgt. Joseph McMahon, who arrived to find Heidebrecht had entered a secure area of the terminal, was the only officer named in the Friday news release.

According to a police report, Heidebrecht was at the airport's west security checkpoint about 9 p.m. Feb. 20 when someone reported a disturbance.

When an officer arrived, Heidebrecht told him he was waiting on a flight.

The officer told him where he could wait, but Heidebrecht tried to walk through the exit lane of the security checkpoint.

The officer escorted him out of the security area and told him to leave the airport or he would be arrested for trespassing, police said.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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