MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 12, 2012

Probe begins on Taser incident

Investigation to focus on whether force was justified

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Two Muskogee police officers are under investigation for allegedly Tasing and pepper-spraying a woman handcuffed to a hospital bed.

The officers, whose names have not been released, are being investigated by the Internal Affairs Division, a spokesman said.

The department is investigating whether the use of non-lethal force by the officers was justified, Cpl. Pedro Zardeneta said.

Christina Boylan said she was shackled to a bed at Muskogee Regional Medical Center after being detained for allegedly barricading herself in a room with a gun.

Boylan’s sister, Alisa Wren, said Boylan called her Nov. 6 in tears.

“She wouldn’t stop crying, I thought she was maybe fighting with her husband or something,” Wren said. “She told me she had been drinking, she was depressed and she had a gun, so I took off over to her house.”

When Wren arrived, she said police were already on scene.

“They let me talk her out of the house,” Wren said. “They were real professional and handled everything there perfectly. They even let me walk her out of the house.”

Wren said family members weren’t allowed to see Boylan once she was at MRMC.

“She said she was crying and asking for help,” Wren said. “She’s typically a shy and reserved person. The officers were right next to her when the hospital staff was putting a catheter in and she was embarrassed. It was all just too much for her.”

Boylan said the officers told her to be quiet.

“She said something like ‘how would you like it,’” Wren said. “And they Tased her and pepper-sprayed her.”

Pictures of Boylan’s left arm show four marks, meaning she was Tased twice, Wren said.

“She was also pepper-sprayed and said the hospital nurses just left the pepper spray on her face,” Wren said. “She was handcuffed, why did they have to do that?”

The two officers remain on active duty,  Zardeneta said.

“We’ll wait until the investigation is complete before reaching any kind of conclusion,” Zardeneta said. “It’s like any other investigation, we have to have all the facts in front of us that we can get. They won’t be placed on administrative leave or anything like that unless the investigation comes back and shows they acted in violation.”

Hospital staff, other witnesses and the officers will be interviewed as part of the investigation, Zardeneta said.

“The last thing the cops said to me before they placed her in the ambulance was ‘you can trust us, she’s in good hands,’” Wren said. “I did trust them, and now I wish I hadn’t.”

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

@muskogeephoenix.com.