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Wister woman contests arrest, says chief used excessive force

A Wister woman is contesting her July arrest and how she was treated in the town hall by the police chief.
BY VALLERY BROWN Modified: December 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm •  Published: September 16, 2010

WISTER — Brenda Martin says she left jail with a dislocated knee, bruised ribs and a black eye after she was pushed from behind, her legs kicked from under her and shoved into the ground by the city's police chief.

The incident resulted in more than $1,500 in medical bills, said Martin, 50. She obtained a video of the ordeal and posted it to YouTube to bring attention to the department.

Martin said she's contesting her July 13 arrest when she went to City Hall to complain about how a police investigation into the death of a Wister resident was being handled.

"You can see exactly how I was treated, but it doesn't even touch on what was done to me emotionally," she said. "I think people need to know how things are being handled here."

Wister is a town of about 1,000 residents in Le Flore County.

What happened

Martin said she confronted Police Chief Chris Ford in his office that afternoon. He asked her to leave. Martin admits she was emotional and upset at the time.

"But it doesn't excuse what happened," she said. "He's a policeman, and he shouldn't have attacked me like that."

As she was leaving, a security camera in town hall captured video of Martin being pushed, her legs quickly swept from beneath her and Ford holding her arms behind her back as he pushes her into the floor.

Martin said she was able to obtain the video after multiple requests to the city.

"I wasn't trying to get away, and I wasn't under arrest," Martin said.

In a statement requested by Martin's attorney, Ford states Martin was "cursing in an extremely loud voice." He describes pushing Martin to get space between them. At that point, Ford states he advised Martin she was under arrest.

He states she continued to walk away from him before he "tripped Martin and she went to the ground." He then describes holding her to the ground.

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