Muskogee police officers pepper sprayed a man inside Wal-Mart early Friday morning after the man allegedly resisted arrest.
Jason Williams, 36, of Muskogee, said he was attempting to purchase wine at the Muskogee Wal-Mart when employees asked not only for his identification, but that of his family members who were present. Williams said he asked to see the policy that required family members to produce identification, and that an employee said they would print it out for him. Instead, Williams said, they used that time to call the police.
“Instead of being greeted with the policy, I was greeted with six of Muskogee’s not so finest,” Williams said.
The Muskogee Police Department paints the altercation differently. Public Information Officer Lincoln Anderson said Williams became aggressive when asked for his identification.
“He became hostile and created a disturbance, including cussing Wal-Mart employees,” Anderson said. “Officers were called to the scene. He also refused to identify himself to officers while they were investigating the incident.”
Officers then told Williams that not providing his ID would constitute obstruction, Anderson said. Williams said he didn’t want to provide his identification because he felt it wasn’t necessary.
“I didn’t want to give up my ID, because I didn’t want to be in any kind of system for any reason, especially not for something this stupid,” Williams said. “They told me I had to present my ID because I was being charged with obstruction. I told them as politely as I could that I’m not stupid, that obstruction is a secondary charge.”
Williams said that without a reasonable suspicion of a crime, he shouldn’t have to present his identification.
“Of course, they didn’t have anything to go off of because nothing had happened,” Williams said.
Anderson said officers attempted to remove Williams from the premises.
“He was told he was going to be placed under arrest for obstruction and that he was trespassing on Wal-Mart property,” Anderson said. “He was asked to leave Wal-Mart and to get into his wheelchair from the Wal-Mart motorized cart.”
From there, Williams began resisting officers, Anderson said, and struck one of them. Williams said, however, that he wanted to leave from the moment the officers entered the store.
“I didn’t want nothing to do with this. I wanted to go home. I tried to leave and they refused to let me leave,” Williams said. “I suffer from anxiety. I didn’t want to deal with it. I just wanted to go home. I tried to back up the little cart buggy. An officer stepped behind it. From the moment they walked in they were trying to get me for assault on an officer.”
Anderson said Williams was told he would be pepper sprayed if he continued resisting arrest. When he didn’t calm down, Anderson said, Williams was sprayed.
“He continued to resist officers until he was placed into handcuffs,” Anderson said. “EMS was called, and he was transported to Saint Francis Emergency Room for his claimed injuries.”
Williams said that the takedown, which involved officers placing Williams on the floor and straddling him, exacerbated existing neck and back injuries sustained during service in the Army. Williams was taken from Saint Francis’ Muskogee hospital to the Tulsa location, where he will be admitted for examination, he said.
“As of this moment, their actions directly caused me to lose use of my left leg,” Williams said. “They’re checking me in to see a neurosurgeon.”
Williams said he simply wanted to see why he was being denied a purchase.
“It was pretty much, I tried to buy some alcohol with my family together, and I was denied, and I wanted to see the policy as to why I was denied, and they kept me intentionally to wait for the police and then say I was asked to leave,” Williams said. “Instead of the police devolving the situation, they increased the situation.”