A perceived obscene finger gesture apparently sparked a May 24 confrontation and scuffle between a state trooper and paramedic in Okfuskee County.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol on Monday released reports from two troopers involved in the incident with Creek Nation paramedics who were taking a woman to the hospital in Prague. Reports also were filed by paramedics Maurice White Jr. and his partner, Paul Franks, who was driving the ambulance.
A trooper, Daniel Martin, said he was heading to Paden to aid the Okfuskee County sheriff’s office on a stolen-vehicle call.
Martin said he had his emergency lights and siren on when he encountered the ambulance in front of him, which failed to yield to his cruiser until contacted by radio. The ambulance was not running lights and siren.
Once on the scene of the stolen-car report in Paden, Martin said he saw the ambulance pass and observed Franks extend his left hand out the window with his middle finger raised.
Martin said he later chased the ambulance until it pulled over. Once he got out of his cruiser, he said he was trying to talk to Franks when he saw White get out of the ambulance and slammed the "door in a hostile manner.”
Martin said White kept getting between them, despite repeatedly being told by the trooper to back off.
White said the trooper bolted out of his car in a huff and yelled at Franks, "What do you mean flipping me off?”
White said the trooper would not allow them to continue taking the woman to a hospital and settle the matter there.
Martin said White kept getting in his way, and finally Martin tried to arrest White for obstructing an officer.