OKMULGEE — A state trooper caught on video kicking a handcuffed woman pleaded no contest Friday to a misdemeanor assault and battery charge and agreed to leave law enforcement. Barry Jacob Rowland, 33, of Bixby, was placed on probation, received a one-year deferred sentence and agreed to resign from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. He also agreed to give up his Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training certification, which is required to be a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma. "I think it’s a substantial penalty, and in this instance it was justified,” Okmulgee County District Attorney Tom Giulioli said.
About the hearingRowland declined to comment after the plea bargain was struck in Okmulgee County District Court. If convicted after a trial, Rowland would have faced up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Rowland was accused of kicking Dana Michelle Walls, 35, of Tulsa, on Nov. 21, 2008, outside a Henryetta bar. During Friday’s hearing, Giulioli told the court what he believed witnesses would have testified to at trial. Walls was under arrest for public intoxication, placed in handcuffs and sitting on the ground, Giulioli said. As Rowland walked past Walls, she spit on his left pants’ leg, the prosecutor said. Rowland then began kicking Walls. "(Other troopers) did indeed witness trooper Rowland kick her two to three times in the upper torso,” Giulioli said. The prosecutor said other law enforcement agents would testify that Rowland "exceeded necessary force” in responding to Walls’ spitting. Giulioli also told the court a video tape of the incident exists. Last year, Giulioli told The Oklahoman that a video from Rowland’s patrol car and another trooper’s vehicle shows Rowland kicking Walls in the chest. The video has not been released to the public because of pending investigations. Special District Judge Cynthia Pickering sentenced Rowland to one year of unsupervised probation, a fine and court costs of $796 and required him to resign from the highway patrol and CLEET by Thursday. Rowland has been a trooper since May 2006 and on paid leave since the incident. After the hearing, Giulioli praised highway patrol trooper Ronnie Sites, for reporting the incident. "It took a tremendous amount of courage for him to report this incident,” Giulioli said. "Had he not done so, I don’t think it would ever had been brought to light.” A court case against Walls is still pending. She is charged with public intoxication and a felony complaint of placing bodily fluid on an officer. If convicted of spitting on Rowland, Walls faces up to five years of incarceration.