An Oklahoma cop was charged with battery Friday after he thrust the barrel end of a shotgun inside a broken car window to repeatedly strike a man in the face as other officers were trying to pull him out of the car.
Once the officers had the suspect out of the car, Owasso Police Lt. Michael Dwain Denton continued using the shotgun to beat the suspect, this time striking him with the butt of the gun several times.
At one point, Denton also struck another officer, according to investigators, but that is not evident in the video.
Denton, 49, was charged assault and battery with a deadly weapon, a felony, and reckless conduct with a firearm.
It was only four years ago that Denton was fired over another case of excessive force, but an arbitrator ruled in his favor and said the department needed to rehire him, which they appealed on the basis that Denton poses “a special risk of injury, physical and psychological, to citizens.”
But an appeals court sided with Denton and he was reinstated with the department paying him $366,000 in back pay, which included overtime he never worked and interest on wages he never earned.
But now Owasso Deputy Police Chief f Jason Woodruff say they may try to fire him again.
According to Tulsa World:
Denton used a shotgun to beat Mathews with “unlawful and felonious intent,” prosecutors claim in the charges. He demonstrated a “conscious disregard” for the safety of other law enforcement officers and created a “situation of unreasonable risk” by striking a uniformed Nowata police officer and Mathews with the end of a shotgun, according to the charges.
In considering the criminal counts, Kevin Buchanan, district attorney for Nowata and Washington counties, said he reviewed the Owasso Police Department’s use-of-force policy.
He also said the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the investigation, spoke to Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training instructors who teach use of force at CLEET headquarters in Ada.
“Essentially, striking anybody in the head with a hard object is considered deadly force,” Buchanan said Friday in a telephone interview. “And you can only use deadly force in a circumstance where it’s justified.”
Both videos are below. The one from 2011 shows him elbowing a handcuffed man in the face after he and other officers drag him into the police station.
He later said he was doing that protect himself because, he claimed, the suspect was planning on spitting on him.
The latest incident took place in June after the suspect led them on a 45-minute pursuit after fleeing from an initial stop.