Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bonehead News: Highway Patrol troopers arrest paramedic while treating patient

Paden, OK -- A scuffle between first responders in Oklahoma is caught on tape.

Updated: The Paramedic who was involved in a scuffle with an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Sunday is speaking out about the incident. Maurice White, Jr. is a critical care paramedic with the Creek Nation EMS and was nearly arrested after the confrontation, which was captured on video.

Paul Franks was the driver of the ambulance, which was transporting a patient to a hospital in Prague.
White says he saw the trooper approaching from behind at a high rate of speed with lights activated, but he did not hear a siren. He says Franks had a car in front of him that his attention was focused on and hadn't seen the trooper before he was within a few feet of the ambulance.

"I called out to my partner and told him to pull to the side because there was a State Trooper behind us," White says. White says as the trooper passed them, he made radio contact, telling Franks "you should consider checking your rearview mirrors".

White says a few blocks after this incident, another trooper entered the road at a high rate of speed, cutting in front of a car driven by a family member of the patient. White says he then saw another trooper approaching from the rear.

"As my partner was pulling onto the shoulder, the cruiser came alongside our unit and gestured for my driver to pull over," White says. "When the officer came to a complete stop behind the ambulance, I noticed a woman in the front seat. Based on the officer's erratic driving behavior, I thought that the woman in the front seat of the cruiser was in need of immediate medical attention; hence I exited the rear of the ambulance in order to assess the situation."

White says the officer was in a rage when he approached them and yelled "get your a-- back here! I am giving you a ticket for failure to yield." White says he told the trooper they had a patient in the ambulance and that they were on their way to the hospital.

"He ignored my statement, became even more belligerent, and demanded my partner come to his patrol car so he could write him a ticket," White says. "I calmly told the officer that we were transporting a patient and we could continue this at the hospital."

White says the trooper then approached him and shouted "you are under arrest for obstructing a police officer" and grabbed his arm to handcuff him. A brief struggle followed, at which point the trooper grabbed White by the throat. The cell phone captured this incident on video.

White says the trooper later told him they could continue on to the hospital, but that he would be under arrest once they got there. White was never arrested, but says troopers told him he should be prepared to turn himself in if a warrant was issued.

Original story: Highway Patrol troopers and a paramedic nearly come to blows while a patient waits to be taken to the hospital. The encounter was caught on a cell phone came by Kenyada Davis, the son of the patient in the ambulance.

The incident started when the ambulance failed to yield to state troopers en route to a call. Davis say the ambulance driver was trying to avoid hitting a car that slowed down and wasn't aware that troopers were nearby until it was too late.

After the troopers finished their official business, they pulled the ambulance over. A struggle ensued as they tried to arrest the driver.

According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the paramedics assaulted the trooper just before the fight broke out.

The Okfuskee County District Attorney's office is reviewing footage and could file criminal charges against the paramedic by the end of the week.

Okfuskee County District Attorney's office (918) 224-3921
Trooper is Daniel Martin - Badge number 606
Call and complain - Troopers Captain 918-423-3636
Source: CNN / KWTV
Paramedics full statement:
Youtube video:

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