MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

October 5, 2009

Oklahoma trooper facing another investigation

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Monday it plans to release dashboard camera video of a second incident involving a trooper suspended earlier this year for using excessive force.

Acknowledging the "high-profile" nature of the case involving Trooper Daniel Martin, patrol spokesman Capt. Chris West said "the decision already has been made" to release video of the incident Saturday night in Holdenville. Martin and fellow trooper Tommy Allen were placed on paid administrative leave after a Holdenville resident said he planned to file a complaint.

In July, Martin received a five-day suspension without pay after scuffling with a paramedic during a traffic stop involving an ambulance. A cell phone video of that scuffle was widely distributed on the Internet, and after initially refusing, the patrol released the dashboard camera video taken from the trooper's cruiser.

The videotapes of the incident in Holdenville — about 75 miles southeast of Oklahoma City — will be released "after we are finished with them for our purposes," West said, citing the continuing investigation. He declined to say when the investigation might be completed.

"The court of public opinion is very negative toward him right now," said Martin's attorney, Gary James of Oklahoma City. "Irrespective of the ambulance case, anytime that Daniel Martin would use force will draw attention. It makes his job hard. I know that he has gone out of his way to really be courteous to people on traffic stops."

Martin said he hasn't watched the video of the incident but believes it will exonerate the troopers.

Kristopher Douglas told Oklahoma City television station KWTV that he was helping with renovations at a friend's house on Saturday when troopers pulled up to handle a traffic stop. Douglas said he was going inside when Martin told him to move away from the house. Douglas said he complied but Martin hit him with a baton while Allen "put a knee in my back."

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