WISTER — Police Chief Chris Ford said he regrets hurting a woman during a July arrest at town hall, but he will be vindicated once audio of the tape recording is available and evidence comes out in court.
The incident — caught on a security camera — has caused a stir on YouTube, receiving more than 3,000 views in about a week.
The video is titled "Oklahoma Police Brutality."
"To know I'm linked up there with some of those terrible police brutality videos doesn't sit well with me at all," Ford said. "My intent wasn't to do harm but to gain control of her while placing her under arrest."
Brenda Martin, 51, has a different account of the ordeal. She says Ford used excessive force when taking her to the ground and had no authority to place her under arrest.
Martin said she went to the chief's office July 13 to complain about an investigation into the death of an area resident.
She admits she was emotional, but says she didn't deserve to be pushed from behind, have her legs swept from under her and her face shoved into the ground. She points out she was leaving when the incident took place.
"You can see exactly how I was treated," said Martin, who claims her knee was dislocated and her ribs and face severely bruised.
Ford said Martin was irate when she entered his office. He repeatedly told her to calm down before asking her to leave.
"I told her I would escort her out and I asked her to stop cursing because there was a library nearby and she was being vulgar," Ford said.
After that, Ford said he told Martin she was under arrest.
"I begged her to stop struggling and cursing," Ford said. "I told her I would be forced to put her on the ground."
Then he did. Ford said he's been trained in the protocol for subduing and controlling prisoners and he followed it that day.
Martin was arrested and taken to the Le Flore County jail on municipal complaints of using profanity in public and resisting arrest. She was released on her own recognizance shortly after so she could receive medical treatment.
Her next court date is Oct. 7. Martin's attorney Jeff Mixon has said he will contest the charges.
"Ford is still the chief," Town Administrator Linston Chronister said. "I've not heard any concerns from the city attorney or the police."
Ford says he stepped down as chief temporarily in order to attend college courses this fall. He said the move is not related to the ordeal with Martin.
Chronister said Ford is working up to 24 hours a week, and Randy Liles is acting chief in Ford's absence.
Town Mayor Katherine Gee refused to comment on the situation.
Chronister said the town council has not discussed the incident and nothing likely will happen until Martin's court date.