ACLU Reacts To Rogers Co. Sheriff Action At State Question Forum
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - The ACLU has responded to the way a supporter of State Question 788 was removed from a forum by Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton on Monday, June 18th.
Cell phone video shows Walton grabbing Chip Paul by the neck and forcing him out of a meeting about next week's state question vote.
The sheriff says several people were disruptive and he was trying to stop it.
Chip Paul says he was not disruptive.
The ACLU executive director Ryan Kiesel issued the following statement:
“The violent actions of the Rogers County Sheriff signal a disturbing reliance on government force to silence political speech. Law enforcement must use force only under the most serious and threatening circumstances, a standard that Mr. Paul’s behavior did not come close to meeting on Monday night. The Rogers County Sheriff is not a stranger to using his taxpayer funded office to wage a private war against SQ 788, but with the unwarranted, violent removal of Mr. Paul from a public forum, the Sheriff’s actions have become criminal.
It is clear that Sheriff Walton believes that medical cannabis will disrupt his business model of arresting patients and seizing their cash and property; in fact, he has a history of using his government office and public funds in questionable ways to protect his bottom line. However, his political fear mongering escalated to dangerous and criminal levels last night when he and his deputies departed from their civic duty and unleashed their rage on an invited member of the public. Sheriff Walton’s criminal act is also a serious violation of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions. Failure to take appropriate action against the Rogers County Sheriff would send a clear message that authoritarian government actors in Rogers County are above the law and unaccountable to the citizens they ostensibly serve.”