The Rogers County Sheriff says he has no regrets over forcing a medical marijuana supporter out of a meeting of people against it.
Opponents of medical marijuana held a forum Monday and, when supporters kept laughing and asking questions, Sheriff Scott Walton took action to get one man out of the room.
Video of the encounter is spreading online.
Walton grabbed Chip Paul by the neck and forced him out of the room, out of the lobby, and outside during the meeting.
The two men have different versions of what happened, but this much is clear.
“I’m a strong no vote on this deal,” said Walton.
And the man he had by the neck helped write the proposed law.
“I would say there was a sense of frustration in the room, but it wasn’t anything I caused,” said Paul.
Paul says he was at the back and supporters of the proposed law were trying to ask questions, including him.
The sheriff believes that was an organized protest.
He says “the Vote Yes people were strategically scattered throughout the room. They strategically made interruptions and talked out loud and laughed as this program went on. He was certainly part of that.”
There was no audible disruption just before the sheriff grabs Paul and pushes him out.
“I was not there to cause any problem,” stated Paul. “I would have left of my own volition had I been asked. I was not. I was physically assaulted.”
The sheriff said he grabbed the man by the neck to gain compliance in the least aggressive way and he is not apologizing.
“I’ve got no regrets for making an effort to get control of a meeting that was getting out of control,” said Walton.
Paul says he’s talking with a lawyer about legal action and, though he’s attended hundreds of meetings about medical marijuana, this is the first one he’s seen someone kicked out.