People Express Frustration Over Police Video At Muskogee City Council
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - People filled Muskogee's City Council meeting Monday night, showing their frustration after a police officer pepper sprayed an 84-year old woman last month.
The woman pepper-sprayed, Geneva Smith, and members of her family, were also at the meeting to see the community rally and support them.
People at the meeting said they want to see more training and diversity on the police force after a video shows Muskogee Police Officer Michelle Casady blasting the 84-year-old in the face after repeated commands by officers to turn around and put her hands behind her back.
Police officers say they kicked down the door because Smith's son, Arthur Blackmon, got out of his car and went inside the home after police tried to pull him over.
After officers kicked in Smith's door, you hear an office say, “I think we can spin it.” That is also drawing scrutiny.
Muskogee police say Casady was "unclear as to the law regarding hot pursuit for misdemeanor offenses," but because of differing laws, she was "correct in her assessment" in waiting with officers to make entry into the home.
Community members can't believe Smith needed to be pepper sprayed, which is why they packed the room Monday.
"We're just going to keep fighting. We're not giving up, we're going to fight," Jean Tucker said.
Pastor Charles Moore wants the officers involved to face disciplinary action and get more training, and he wants the department to hire more black officers.
"There needs to be some intentional engagement, conversation between those who represent our police department and those who represent our community," Moore said.
Muskogee's police chief, Rex Eskridge, wants to form a diversity community to help with recruiting.
"Not applying is the biggest problem that we have. We get very small percentages that actually apply," he said.
Eskridge and the city attorney say the investigation into the officer's conduct is complete and an internal review board will be looking into it.
The chief also wanted to note that just because the department has remained silent, doesn't mean things are not being corrected and solved within the department.