Published June 13, 2009
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has released video from a police dashboard camera of a scuffle between a paramedic and a state trooper after amateur video of the incident showed an officer grabbing the EMT by the neck.
Authorities decided to make the footage public Friday after local media and FOX News reported on the grainy video showing the May 24 altercation between EMT Maurice White and Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Daniel Martin.
In the video, which was posted to YouTube, Martin and White are shown yelling next to the ambulance. Martin points at White and says, "You are under arrest," and the argument quickly escalates into a physical exchange. White is grasped by the neck -- but then appears to be let go without further police action.
"We've been well aware of the fact that this incident has drawn enormous attention, but made the decision to protect the integrity of the investigation, any and all relevant evidence, as well as the rights of the department employees," Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Chris West said in explaining why video from the trooper's dashboard camera wasn't released until Friday.
The video released by the state is not nearly as intense as the amateur video, which was recorded up close by a relative of the patient in the ambulance. But the new video includes an earlier argument not seen in the relative's video. In it, the paramedic seems to suggest the disagreement be resolved after dropping the patient off at the hospital.
Patrol administrators will decide what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken following an in-depth review, according to Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
White, of Creek Nation Emergency Medical Services, told FOX News he still is in shock over the incident.
"He's taken an oath, just as I have, to protect and serve," White said during a FOX News "Nowhere to Hide" report. "I could not believe that this was happening."
The scuffle happened after Martin pulled over the ambulance White was riding in. Martin initially claimed he stopped the vehicle because driver Paul Franks refused to yield to his squad car and because he thought Franks made an obscene gesture in his direction.
Franks and White said it was a gesture of surprise, and Martin misunderstood.
"I'm absolutely sure it was not" obscene, White said.
Also at issue is the identity of a mystery woman with the trooper at the time of the traffic stop.
Martin was given the chance to take administrative leave on June 1 — an opportunity he took, FOX News has learned. He has said little about the case.
"I believe this will play out in the end," he told FOX News. "We should allow the investigation to take its course. I'll let it go with that. I don't want to interfere with any ongoing investigations."
FOX News' Brian Wilson contributed to this report.