Owasso will appeal arbitrator's ruling on fired officer

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Updated: 7/13/2012 9:20 am Published: 7/12/2012 9:55 pm

The City of Owasso has decided to fight a ruling to reinstate a police officer fired over a controversial arrest on June 30, 2011. 

The video shows Lieutenant Michael Denton hitting the suspect, Bryan Spradlin, in the face three times. The police chief, Dan Yancey, says that was two hits too many after reviewing the video.

The City Manager Rodney Ray told FOX23 he could only watch that video one time that day because of the rough arrest. 

"I went home and cried," said Ray.

He says he doesn’t consider himself a "sensitive guy" but he couldn't fight off the tears after watching the video.
Ray says they're a city of character and the standard must be set higher.

"It was disgusting to me,” he said. “It overpowered me."

He's hoping a federal judge will feel that same pain when he reviews the report. Ray says there were parts in the video that he found disturbing: one scene where Denton puts his foot on Spradlin's head, another when he attempts to hit Spradlin's head on the door entering the jail and finally, the multiple hits to the suspect’s face.

"That's not a replay of the same incident three times, Ray told FOX23. “That's three times."

Ray believes the arbitrator exceeded his jurisdictional authority by rewriting the city's policy on excessive force.

The arbitrator evaluated each instance and found that “although the force he used was unreasonable or unnecessary” Denton did not cause any injury to Spradlin.

The arbitrator recommended Denton get his job back with benefits and back pay. The city says that’s not fair.

"There can't be a little bit of unreasonable force,” he said “There can't be a little bit of unnecessary force and the policies of the City of Owasso say there should be no unreasonable or unnecessary force. "

Ray adds it also breaks state laws. But Denton’s mother, Louise, disagreed.

"I say an officer of the law has any right to protect themselves as any citizen," she said.

Louise told FOX23 Spradlin was threatening to spit on her son. It’s a felony offense and her son should have the fight to protect himself.

"They can't second guess. They have no time to second guess their decision,” she added. “In certain instances that can be life or death."

Louise Denton says she was in all the arbitration meetings and believes the right decision was made there.

"It's not that it wasn't expected because I know how the city of Owasso works," she said.

However, Ray says it's about following the law.

"He didn't deserve this," he said.

Sradlin's family told FOX23 they're in the process of filing a federal lawsuit.

Spradlin settled out of court with Owasso, receiving a $1,500 out-of-court settlement
Denton's attorney, Patrick Hunter, says he's not worried about the appeal.  Hunter says it's tough to overturn an arbiter's ruling.

Ray says Denton won’t be back to work unless a federal judge rules on that.

The City of Owasso will file their appeal Friday or early next week.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

aleman - 7/19/2012 4:33 PM
0 Votes
By all means then if he acts like a turd,put him in with the wife beater and see what happens.

ghostbuster - 7/19/2012 5:30 AM
0 Votes
I hope his ass gets fired!! His come in my shop and acted like his ass don't stink! He treats people like scumbags. Loll I'm glad this happens to him.(=

aleman - 7/16/2012 6:46 PM
0 Votes
wife beater

DONTtouchme - 7/13/2012 11:51 AM
2 Votes
I'm loving the comments today!!! Everyone has a vote!

Unwashed Mass - 7/13/2012 10:59 AM
2 Votes
The "felony spitting" came about from the national police associations claiming it was to protect police from HIV, but the CDC says that's bogus. If you really could get aids from spitting, it would be a felony to spit on anybody -- not just privileged police union members.

Unwashed Mass - 7/13/2012 10:55 AM
1 Vote
Owasso was so convinced that complaints against their police were made up, that they bought these cameras to prove them wrong -- and they caught this the first week of their use. Police unions coach officers to claim "spitting" when they are caught brutalizing handcuffed prisoners. The cops that failed to intervene are just as guilty.

t town253 - 7/13/2012 9:30 AM
1 Vote
What the what?? Officer has right to defend himself against a threat of spit??? She is crazy. The officer was in no danger whatsoever and Im disgusted at this officers actions. I have a very close friend who has served on the police force for years.....never never never is this ever ever ever ok!!! I agree bishopdre.....and we wonder why there is so much distrust!!

kindagreywolf - 7/13/2012 8:00 AM
4 Votes
Its so nice that the cops are above the law. No wonder people run from these jackasses with badges.

bishopdre - 7/12/2012 10:41 PM
5 Votes
This has got to be candid camera,are you freaking kidding me?I try my best to live by the word but when I saw this I had alot of emotion.It was beyong disgusting and this man should not only be fired but spend some time in jail.That is not the kind of person we need to serve us but he is obviously a result of idiocy and cluelessness because his mom is dillusional and obviously need s psychiatrist or better yet the good Lord.I should feel sorry for them but I wanted to elbow the mom and whoop the coward,made tears come to my eyes then I just got furious and to make it worse they gave me 1500.00,I was flabbergasted at that too please some attorney help this man seek justice,he may need punishment for his crime but not police brutality.I am done because I could go on and on.
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