YouTube video doesn't clear Wister woman

Brenda Martin claims the police chief used excessive force was found guilty Thursday of resisting an officer.
BY VALLERY BROWN Published: October 9, 2010
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Black-and-white security camera footage of an arrest at town hall didn't clear the woman who used it in her defense Thursday.

Brenda Martin, 51, was convicted of resisting Police Chief Chris Ford on July 13 during a visit to town hall. A charge of using profanity in public was dismissed, her attorney Jeff Mixon said.

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

Martin was fined $525 and ordered to pay within 30 days, Mixon said.

Opinions of exactly what the audioless video shows are mixed: Martin has said she wasn't resisting but was taken down with excessive force by Ford and the video proves it.

"It's just unreal to me I was ever accused of resisting," she said.

Video surveillance of the arrest was posted on YouTube shortly after the incident. Titled "Oklahoma Police Brutality," it has received nearly 7,000 views.

The thought of being associated on the site with officers brutally beating suspects doesn't sit well with Ford. He claims he repeatedly asked Martin to calm down and leave the building before arresting and subduing her with a leg sweep and holding her arms behind her back.

"I'm not perfect by any means," Ford said. "I think this is just simply the fact of doing a difficult job."

Ford said he's stepped down as chief temporarily in order to attend classes at a nearby college.

Mixon said he plans to appeal the decision to Le Flore County District Court. He argued she can't be convicted of resisting an officer unless she is also convicted of the crime that led to the arrest.


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