MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 11, 2012

Okay councilor addresses allegations

Frye calls police chief’s report ‘lies’

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— An Okay town councilor called allegations he threatened the town’s police chief “lies.”

Fernand “Paco” Frye is charged with assaulting Fred Winters, Okay’s police chief, last month at Frye’s home. Winters used a Taser on Frye before the arrest.

Frye called many of allegations in his arrest report “blatant out-and-out lies.” Frye said the people of Okay are afraid to speak out against Winters because of the power he wields as police chief.

Winters said he stood by his arrest report and his history in law enforcement.

In the report, Winters said he used the Taser on Frye when Frye — who both sides said always carries a gun while on his personal property — reached for the weapon.

Winters said a medical technician was at the scene when the incident occurred, and would vouch for his side of the story when called to court.

Frye, who said he suffers from seizures and severe headaches and arthritis, admitted to smoking potpourri before the encounter.

“I get high because I have a medical problem,” Frye said. “So yes, I was high, but it wasn’t recreational. It was because it eases my pain.

“I saw a report that said I grow marijuana in my home, and that’s another blatant lie against me. I do not do that.”

Winters said he used the Taser on Frye as much for his protection as that of Winters and the medical technician.

“Yes, we’re taught to meet deadly force with deadly force,” Winters said. “But I wasn’t going to let it get to the deadly force part.”

Winters said he knew Frye had a gun — listed in the arrest report as a “loaded .22 caliber handgun” — and said Frye was making threatening statements before he allegedly began reaching for the weapon.

“He was asking me ‘Mr. Winters, do you have your vest on today?’ and  ‘do you know how I can get my name in the history book?’” Winters said. “I know what that means.

“I had the Taser out, but believe me, I had my hand on my gun as well. But I didn’t let it get to that point.”

Frye said Thursday he wasn’t reaching for his gun, he was reaching for his concealed carry license to show Winters.

“I was reaching for the right side of my pocket, where my wallet was,” Frye said. “My weapon is on the left side of my body. Saying I was reaching for a gun is a lie.”

Winters, though, said his interpretation varied.

“He wasn’t going to show me his license. We both know he has a license, we’d talked about that for 10 minutes before he was tased,” Winters said. “He’s admitted to being under the influence, but that’s the deal. I wasn’t under the influence when this happened. My witness wasn’t under the influence.

“I really feel bad, because this is a misdemeanor that’s gotten way out of control and I’m afraid it’s making the town look bad, and I don’t want that. I think it will all be taken care of in court and then we can all just move on.”

The two sides are due in Wagoner County District Court on Monday for a hearing on a protective order Frye filed against Winters on Sept. 26.

Frye is set to appear in court Nov. 29 on misdemeanor charges of:

• Assault on a police officer;

• Disturbing the peace; and

• Resisting an officer.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth

@muskogeephoenix.com.