WEATHERFORD — Four Southwestern Oklahoma University students were hazed by local police early Sunday and given the option of crawling back to an apartment or being arrested for public intoxication, one of the students said Thursday.
“I'm not contesting that I was intoxicated,” said Dylan Frizzell, 22, one of the four male students involved. “I'm just upset at the way we were treated.”
Police Capt. Todd Doyals said police officials are aware of the accusation and an internal investigation is in progress.
“If the allegations are true, Chief Byron Cox of the Weatherford Police Department will take the necessary disciplinary actions in the matter,” Doyals said.
Given the option of crawling or being arrested, Frizzell's companions chose to crawl the 20 yards or so to the apartment stairway. Frizzell said he refused and was arrested.
“It was just the humiliation of it,” he said. “While they were crawling, there were a lot of taunts and dog calls and stuff.”
Frizzell said three police officers were involved in the incident and “one appeared to be the ringleader.”
The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sunday as the students were walking back to an apartment after drinking at a house about 100 yards away, he said.
Frizzell said the students weren't disrespectful to the officers.
“We did not in any way make it difficult for them,” he said.
The officers offered to give him a sobriety test, but he told them “there was no need for the test because I'm not in any way sober. I was arrested then,” he said.
Frizzell said he spent 5 1/2 hours in jail Sunday before posting $84 bail and being released about 8 a.m.
Upset by the way the students were treated, Frizzell wrote a letter that appeared Wednesday in a local newspaper.
Frizzell said he has heard similar complaints about treatment of students by Weatherford police, before and after the incident.
“After my story came out, all kinds of stories flooded the Internet,” he said.
Frizzell said he has encouraged people who have contacted him with stories of mistreatment to file complaints with the Weatherford Police Department, but Doyals said the department has “not received one phone call” in response to the letter.
“I think people are afraid,” Frizzell responded. “People say the cops have been this way for a long time and people are afraid to go down there and say anything against them for fear of what might happen. I really feel that's the reason more people haven't complained already.
“If it becomes my word against theirs, I still know that I'm right,” he said.
Doyals said the police department's investigation was prompted by the newspaper letter and the department has not received a formal complaint about Sunday's incident.
Officers involved in the arrest remain on duty pending the outcome of the investigation, he said.
Doyals said he has spoken with Frizzell but as of Thursday afternoon had not had a chance to interview all the students involved.
“The investigation should be completed, hopefully, by midweek next week,” he said.
Frizzell said he is not asking for the officers to be fired.
“I'm not after anyone's job,” he said. “I just want, in the future, for stuff like this not to happen.”