WARNING, this story contains explicit language.
After publishing the story about the man claiming to be a disabled veteran being pepper-sprayed by Muskogee police, MuskogeeNOW.com received dozens of phone calls, texts and emails from people claiming to be experts on the law.
The police department has received numerous threats, including “putting officers in body bags” and blowing up the police station, the 911 call center and other threats, according to sources inside the police department.
“You are wrong,” one text to MuskogeeNOW indicative of the rest stated. “Do your research. He did not have to show his ID to the police because he didn’t commit a crime. That’s where the cops went wrong.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you, you hick ass morons,” another started. “You will all burn in hell you fat pieces of shit.”
“You make me sick,” another stated. “Change your tittle(sic) you fucking morons!!!”
For the record, MuskogeeNOW did not and does not take a position on the merits of the man’s case. By reporting the police response to the controversy, many people assumed we were supporting the police, which we were not; neither were we supporting the man. We simply believe all sides of a story should be reported when possible.
For clarification, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in Hlbel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada that police who have reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement by a subject can legally demand the subject to provide identification. The court ruled that, because providing identification cannot incriminate someone, being required to provide identification in those narrow circumstances does not violate the Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.
Subjects are not required to answer any other questions while being detained by police, according to the ruling.
After viewing three videos of the incident, it is clear that the police informed the man he was under arrest — and thus not free to leave the store — because they suspected he was involved in disorderly conduct by allegedly being abusive to the staff at Walmart, who had called the police to the scene.
There are two situations in Oklahoma under which a person can legally refuse to identify themselves to police: 1) Oklahoma is not a “stop and identify” state, so police cannot just randomly require you to show ID, and 2) if you are not suspected of a crime. In other words, if a police officer asks you to show your ID, but upon questioning does not say you are suspected of an articulable crime, you are not required to show your ID to them. However, if the officer says you are suspected of a crime he or she can articulate with reasonable suspicion that you might be involved, you are required to show your ID to them. In that circumstance, refusal to provide your ID is probable cause enough for you to be arrested.
This case will ultimately be decided by the district attorney, and later, should the DA decide to prosecute, the courts. The man involved is innocent of any crime until he is convicted in a court of law.
UPDATE: There are now numerous reports that the man’s claims of being injured while deployed in Afghanistan are being challenged by officers and fellow soldiers who served with him in Germany. An ex-wife and several soldiers, including a man claiming to be his commander during his time in Germany have stated that the man was never deployed to Afghanistan, and that when he was “kicked out” of the Army, he was healthy and not disabled.
...the man is threatening to run over people who are protesting, claiming he would be justified because “obstruction of traffic, loitering, disturbing the peace and even jaywalking” are laws that shouldn’t be broken without consequences.