OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Three Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers have been cleared of wrongdoing after they fought with a hearing-impaired man involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater cleared troopers Eric Foster, Kelton Hayes and Jason Owens, saying that statements made by the men concerning the arrest of 64-year-old Pearl Pearson Jr. matched Foster’s dash cam video and accounts from several witnesses, The Oklahoman reported Friday.
Meanwhile, Pearson was charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court.
The troopers had responded last month to a call from the victim of a hit-and-run accident, and authorities say Pearson was involved in the accident but didn’t stop at the scene.
Troopers Foster and Hayes stopped behind Pearson’s vehicle but Pearson did not roll down his tinted windows for the troopers until after they’d given multiple commands to do so, a letter from Prater to Col. Rick Adams, the chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, states.
Pearson pointed at his ears when troopers told him to raise his hands and put them out the window.
The troopers tried making hand gestures, but as they approached the driver’s window, Pearson suddenly reached his hands between his left leg and the door, Prater’s letter states.
Hayes used his left arm to pin Pearson’s hand, and struck him with the closed fist of his right hand in the face “to stun and disorient him,” Prater wrote.
After officers determined that Pearson wasn’t lunging for a weapon, Foster opened the vehicle door and pulled Pearson from it and onto his feet.
Once outside the vehicle, authorities say Pearson “jerked and attempted to pull away from the troopers,” before they tackled him to the ground and attempted to handcuff him, Prater wrote.
Pearson, who was wearing a coat, had not been searched for weapons and repeatedly attempted to pull his arms to his waist area, Prater wrote.