Oklahoma City police have been investigating the police chief of the tiny town of Forest Park because her husband reported Jan. 6 she attacked him with a knife, The Oklahoman learned.
Amanda R. Eastridge was not arrested, and police kept secret her identity in the only public police report about the accusation.
Both she and her husband, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Bryan Eastridge, now deny that she swung a knife during their early morning argument.
“It was a verbal argument, period. … Everybody in the world goes through marital issues, but there was not … anything physical,” Amanda Eastridge, 35, told The Oklahoman in an interview Wednesday with her husband at their Oklahoma City home.
“We love each other,” Bryan Eastridge, 33, said Wednesday.
Amanda Eastridge wrote in a statement Friday that their marital problems are a result of her husband's infidelity. Bryan Eastridge declined further comment Friday about his wife's statement.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he personally will review the reports once the police investigation is complete and determine whether charges are appropriate.
“We view these allegations to be very serious, and we will treat this case like any other matter, officer-involved or not,” Prater said.
Prater said Friday a criminal charge still can be filed in domestic violence cases even if the victim refuses to prosecute.
Amanda Eastridge has served about seven years as the police chief in Forest Park, a town covering 2.1 square miles in eastern Oklahoma County. She and Bryan Eastridge married in 2011.
Police blacked out her name as the suspect from the two-page crime report in keeping with a long-standing policy, officials said. Police also blacked out her address, phone numbers and occupation.
The Oklahoma City Police Department does not identify suspects unless they have been arrested or charged or the public is at risk, officials said.
“It's basically because we get so many reports where somebody lists a possible suspect, and they turn out not to be a suspect at all,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said of the policy.
“Anybody can say anything about anybody, and we need to have the opportunity to try to figure out whether or not there actually is some reason or legally probable cause for us to be able to really consider them a suspect.”
Police also blacked out Bryan Eastridge's name as the victim in the report in keeping with another policy not to identify domestic violence victims for their protection, he said.
“We treated this the same as we've treated any other domestic violence, no better, no worse,” Citty said. “There was no special treatment based on their positions. That's what we do on a normal basis.”
The Oklahoman learned of the investigation from a tip.
Police emailed the redacted report to The Oklahoman after a reporter specifically asked for the report of an assault involving Amanda Eastridge as the suspect.
According to the report, the victim reported the incident took place in the basement of their home at 5 a.m. Jan. 6.
An Oklahoma City police officer was dispatched to investigate at 12:54 p.m. the same day.
The officer, Joe Laughead, wrote the victim “stated that while he was carrying an electronic sound amplifier his wife ‘came at' him carrying a multi-tool with the knife blade extended.”
“As she approached him, she was yelling things such as ‘I'm going to tear your stuff up,'” the officer wrote.
The victim said the suspect “began swinging the blade at him as he held the amplifier with his right hand,” the officer wrote. The victim said his hand was struck “at some point during her knife-swinging actions.”
The officer wrote the victim's hand “was visibly red and appeared slightly swollen.”
The officer wrote the victim said “she threw the multi-tool/knife at him, striking him in the back” as he turned away and began walking up the stairs. The officer wrote, “There were what appeared to be knife cut marks on one end of the amplifier.”
Investigators confiscated the multi-tool and took photos of the amplifier, victim and suspect, police spokesman Gary Knight told The Oklahoman.
Knight had an explanation for why Amanda Eastridge was not arrested.
“She was not arrested that day because she was not interviewed,” Knight wrote in an email.
“We prefer to get both sides of the story before deciding whether or not to make an arrest. Plus neither party had any significant injuries and they had already parted ways. By the time the female was interviewed, neither party was willing to prosecute.”
Amanda Eastridge said her husband got enrolled “in some intensive counseling” since the argument. She said both are in marriage counseling.
“We got into a verbal argument. He left. He came back an hour later. We went to bed,” she said. “There was never a knife. That never happened. … I just think that the whole situation was blown way out of proportion and I think it was politically motivated. Either against him or against me, we don't know.”
In her statement Friday, Amanda Eastridge wrote, “We are having serious marital problems that culminated in my husband making a series of mistakes that have jeopardized our marriage. … I truly hope that my exemplary record will speak for itself and my husband and I will be able to work through this incredibly difficult time together.”
During the interview at their home Wednesday, Bryan Eastridge said, “It was an emotionally charged incident that spiraled out of control.”
He said he reported the incident only because he was obligated to by policy.
He said he later made an amended statement on a refusal-to-prosecute form after calming down and getting his thoughts together.
In a phone call Wednesday night after the interview, Bryan Eastridge said, “I want you to know she didn't swing a knife at me. That statement got completely misconstrued … I clarified that for the investigators, too, later on. We just want this to be done and over.”