A former Valley Brook police officer did not have probable cause to pull over an Oklahoma City police detective suspected of driving under the influence the night he was arrested but not charged with a crime, the town's police chief testified Tuesday.
“The probable cause did not exist,” Valley Brook Police Chief Michael Stamp told a jury.
Stamp, though, said then-Valley Brook officer Shelby N. Field had “reasonable suspicion” to pull over detective Chuck Wheeler on the night of Sept. 26, 2009 — outside of the department's jurisdiction — because Wheeler threatened the officer's safety while making a traffic stop.
Attorneys for Wheeler, who is suing Field in civil court for unspecified damages, allege Field had no legal authority to detain their client inside Oklahoma City limits without probable cause. They also allege Field was unnecessarily physically and verbally abusive toward the detective.
Field left the department in April 2010 for personal reasons. He testified Tuesday feeling “very startled” when Wheeler drove by, honked his horn and then “swerved.”
Wheeler's attorneys contend their client honked his horn as if to say “I see you,” and turned his car slightly to the left to avoid Field. The detective's wife told the jury he tapped his horn twice and moved to the center lane to avoid the officer.
“There was 15 feet between our truck and the officer's body,” Vickie Wheeler testified.
Field claims he was grazed on the arm by the passenger side mirror on Wheeler's Ford F150 Super Duty truck.
“If I wasn't grazed it felt very close to being struck,” Field said.
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