MIAMI, OK — Three Miami police officers are on administrative leave with pay after a videotape surfaced showing two of the officers allegedly using excessive force on a male suspect during a traffic stop.
District Attorney Eddie Wyant released a statement Wednesday night saying, “information has been provided to my office that possibly supports the fact that perjury and/or unnecessary physical use of force by more than one Miami police officer has occurred in a recent Ottawa County case.”
Wyant recused himself from the case, saying “investigatory decisions” will be made by the state attorney general's office.
Acting Police Chief Thomas Anderson confirmed three officers were on leave and they were the subject of an “internal inquiry.”
The officers were placed on administrative last week, according to city attorney David Anderson. Anderson declined to comment on the allegations, except to say the leave was not a disciplinary measure but rather a time for investigation into the accusations.
Jerry Dean Payne, Jr., 36, of Miami, was arrested May 14 in the parking lot of the Stables Casino in Miami. He was charged three days later in Ottawa County District Court with misdemeanor violations of driving under the influence, driving under suspension and obstructing an officer. The charges were dropped Oct. 21, according to court records.
Clint Ward, Payne's attorney, disputed facts in the probable cause affidavit. “The PC was totally fabricated,” Ward said.
An intoxicated Payne was combative with police officers about leaving the vehicle and was eventually pulled to the ground, according to the affidavit.
Ward said he reviewed security footage from the Stables Casino and from an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper's dashcam.
“The dashcam in the OHP officer's vehicle is completely different version than the officer's probable cause affidavit,” Ward said.
Ward declined to release a copy of the dashcam video, while Capt. George Brown, Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman, said is he is investigating whether the state agency has a dashcam recording of the incident.
Ward said the videotape shows Payne being pulled over by an OHP trooper, followed by the Miami police unit. The affidavit says the trooper arrived after Miami police had pulled him over for a “traffic stop.”
The affidavit identifies the police officers as Teresa Lashmet and Myers (with no first name). The third officer on administrative leave was not at the scene and is not identified in the affidavit. Officials did not release the officer's name.
Ward described the video as showing Payne opening his vehicle door and raising both hands. He said the video also shows the police officers approaching the vehicle with their guns drawn.
Payne suffered broken teeth, a bloody lip, bumps, bruises and scrapes all over his face, Ward said. The affidavit describes Payne's injuries as a scratch to the left cheek and a bump above his left eye.
Both Ward and the affidavit agree that the officers used an arm bar technique to put Payne on the ground.
“This is a perfect example (why) dash cams should be open records,” Ward said.
Ward's firm won a victory earlier this month when the Oklahoma Supreme Court let stand an earlier ruling by a lower court declaring that dash-cam videos in the city of Claremore are considered a public record in Oklahoma.