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Rough reputations follow trooper, medic in scuffle

Ron Jackson, Staff Writer and Sheila Stogsdill, State Correspondent Modified: June 21, 2009 at 12:22 pm •  Published: June 21, 2009
Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Daniel Martin and Creek Nation paramedic Maurice White Jr. — two men thrust into the national media spotlight after a May 24 scuffle — have reputations as bullies and histories of confrontation, former supervisors and employment documents revealed.

Martin’s defense attorney, Gary James, portrayed him last week as a loving family man and an "American hero” who recently returned from Iraq after a tour of duty as a U.S. naval reservist. Residents of the rural Osage County town of Fairfax have dramatically different recollections of Martin, who was their police chief from March 1999 to July 2000.

Martin’s tenure ended in Fairfax with a unanimous vote for his firing.

"Yeah, I remember him,” store clerk Linda Burgess said. "That’s a sore subject around here. He left quite an imprint on this community, and not a good one, either. He was a bully with an attitude.

"And he was always pulling people over and using the f-word.”

James could not be reached for comment.

White, meanwhile, was fired in June 2004 by Muskogee County EMS after more than 11 years of employment. EMS director Terri Mortensen criticized White in a termination letter, citing his "unprofessional behavior” toward her and "misuse of authority over your subordinates.” The letter listed other reasons for his termination:

>Failure to complete run sheets in a timely manner.

>Short notice on cancellation of teaching assignment.

>Failure to schedule a relief EMT to cover his shift while he taught a class in a timely manner.

White responded by filing a complaint of racial discrimination with the NAACP, the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper reported at the time. The newspaper further reported the organization originally supported White’s cause but later reversed its decision. The NAACP reportedly reviewed the EMS policy and White’s termination letter, and concluded he had committed a fireable offense.

Forty of White’s former co-workers wrote a letter to the editor of the Muskogee Phoenix in support of White’s firing.

White was respected in other quarters.

What’s happened

→Cell-phone video captured by the son of an ambulance patient was placed on YouTube.

→The video shows state trooper Daniel Martin and paramedic Maurice White Jr. in a May 24 scuffle after Martin pulled over the ambulance in Paden.

→Martin accused the ambulance driver of making an obscene gesture at him, which the driver has denied. The driver was ticketed for failure to yield.

→The Oklahoma Highway Patrol released the dashboard camera video, in which more of the scuffle is seen.

→Martin’s attorney portrayed his client as an American hero who just returned from service in Iraq.

→White’s attorney responded by calling Martin a bully, and White went on national television to call for Martin to be stripped of his gun and badge.


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