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Former Erick, Oklahoma, police chief charged with assault

The former police chief of Erick is charged with assault and battery after authorities say he punched an inmate in the gut while cameras rolled inside the Beckham County jail.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: April 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm •  Published: April 28, 2014

The former police chief of the town of Erick is charged with assault and battery after authorities say he hit a helpless inmate in the gut while cameras rolled inside the Beckham County jail.

The incident, which was captured on the Beckham County jail’s security cameras, played out in December in the jail’s booking area.

Mike Day, the former police chief of Erick, was arrested and is charged with one count of assault and battery, a misdemeanor.

The former lawman is free after posting $1,000 bail, records show.

An affidavit prepared by an investigator working for the Beckham County Sheriff’s Department details the events of Dec. 7, 2013.

Two Beckham County sheriff’s deputies, who were working in the booking area at the time of the incident, told the investigator that Day and another officer brought in two men, Mark Watson and Arturo Gonzalez, for processing on Dec. 7.

Day told jailers the men were intoxicated, although both deputies said the men appeared to be sober.

At some point during the booking process, Day approached Watson, who was shackled and unable to move, and made physical contact with the inmate.

Trevor White, a detention deputy at the jail on Dec. 7, was one of the men interviewed by the investigator.

“White told me that Watson was shackled ... and was arguing with Chief Day, who was across the room doing paperwork,” the investigator wrote in the affidavit. “At that point, Chief Day said he had had enough of Watson’s mouth and walked over to Watson and then with open palms, struck Watson in the stomach and pushed him back into a sitting position.”

Another jail employee, Deputy Joann Beeson, gave a similar statement to the investigator.

Gonzalez, who was later tracked down in Texas and questioned over the phone by the investigator, said that he feared for his safety following the incident.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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