Rogers County Sheriff Apologizes For Cursing At Officer
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton apologized for cursing at a Tulsa police officer, but says he doesn't regret defending his department and his deputy.
"You handled this in a (expletive) cowardly way, okay? So therefore, I think you're a (expletive) coward," Walton said in a call made to the officer who posted on Facebook criticizing a Rogers County sheriff's deputy for not stopping to help him during a Tulsa traffic stop.
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan says he believes Walton's actions were inappropriate while the sheriff says he believes the officer handled the situation poorly by airing it on social media.
Jordan issued a response Friday morning. It says, in part:
"I think his actions and comments were inappropriate for an elected official ... I would never speak to one of my employees in such a manor."
Jordan says Tulsa Police Officer Craig Heatherly is a decorated marine and gives back to the community by helping veterans.
He says Heatherly has been an "exemplary officer."
Friday afternoon, Walton responded.
He says his Deputy didn't even see the car stop when he drove by.
"I have to take deputy Smittle's word, that he didn't see it," Walton says. "I think it's pretty hard to prove what somebody saw or didn't see."
When Walton learned about Heatherly's Facebook post, he first called off the officer's supervisor and asked for a retraction and apology.
Heatherly removed the post but didn't apologize.
Walton says several days later he spoke with Heatherly who, he said, was friends with some Claremore police officers.
Walton says that's when he got upset and used profanity because he doesn't believe that's how adults should handle issues.
"The only thing that I would regret, apologize or back up on, is the language that I used," Walton said. "I'm certain that I should have found some substitutions for the foul language that I used. I was aggravated that doesn't excuse me of that."
Walton says he stands by his message, but he considers the situation between him and Heatherly to be over.
Walton added that he respects Heatherly's service and that if one of his deputies ever took to social media in a similar way there would be disciplinary action taken.