Muskogee PD Issues Suspensions Following Pepper-Spray Incident

Friday, September 30th 2016, 7:50 pm
By: News On 6

The Muskogee Police Department has handed down three suspensions to its officers following the pepper-spraying of an 84-year-old woman.

Muskogee Police Chief Rex Eskridge tells News On 6, out of an effort of to show transparency, he's asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to come in and conduct and independent investigation.

Eskridge said the use of the pepper spray by Officer Michelle Casady fell within the department’s current policy.

However, as a result of the incident involving Geneva Smith, Officer Casady received a letter of concern and received a one-day suspension.

Another officer was suspended for improper use of a Taser, another received a suspension for failing to protect, collect evidence and take care of Geneva Smith.

The third officer was suspended for making comments after the indigent and failing to manage the scene.

Eskridge said the suspension means the officers are off duty without pay for a while.

Eskridge said one supervisor at the scene received a reprimand.

In light of the suspensions and review of the incident, Eskridge is making a number of policy changes. He said a number of policy changes are also being made to ensure supervisors can do their best to manage scenes like the pepper spray incident.

The chief said he regrets the incident occurred and it could've been handled better.

He said even though the use of force and the door breaching were within policy, it wasn't in the best interest of our community to handle this situation in that manner.

Eskridge said age and physical condition will be considered when the policy is updated.

He wants to make sure the community knows that the Muskogee Police Department is listening and making changes.

9/12/2016 Related Story: People Express Frustration Over Police Video At Muskogee City Council