Community Wants Stronger Punishment For Officers Involved In Pepper-Spraying Incident

Monday, October 3rd 2016, 10:40 pm
By: News On 6

Muskogee community leaders are reacting to the three officers’ suspensions following an almost two-month-long investigation into the pepper-spraying of an 84-year-old woman.

Now community members are weighing in.

The Muskogee Christian Ministers Union saw the police body cam video first when officers pepper sprayed Geneva Smith and Tased her son after a traffic stop.

Two members said, after reading the department's report, the suspensions weren't harsh enough.

In the video, you see Smith pepper sprayed in the face after Muskogee police officers entered her home.

Officers kicked in her door after they say her son walked away from his truck during a traffic stop in the driveway; officers Tased him and sprayed Smith.

Almost two months later, the Muskogee Police Department gave three officers unpaid suspensions and reprimanded a supervisor.

9/30/2016 Related Story: Muskogee PD Issues Suspensions Following Pepper-Spray Incident

Reverend Charles Moore with Muskogee Christian Ministers Union said, "We're talking about an 84-year-old woman who received injuries based, not of her guilt, but simply just being at home."

The Muskogee Christian Ministers Union is working with the police on community relations.

"They should've seen more harsher punishment,” Moore said. “The chief saw it a different way and we don't agree with the amount of punishment. I think it should be more severe."

Moore and Reverend Marlon Coleman are happy the department committed to hiring more African American officers and creating a task force to fix that problem.

"We're not going to stop because there's so much more that needs to be done within the department," Moore said.

Coleman wants more accountability for the officers involved, even though Muskogee's police chief said the officer's use of pepper spray fell within department policy.

"Personally, I believe when we justify policy to mistreat residents, it's our policy to mistreat residents, and I think that's very concerning not only for me but for other residents within the city," Coleman said.

On Friday, Muskogee's police chief said he's asking the FBI to conduct an independent review of the incident.

Also, the police department wanted to stress the policy changes are happening and the punishments handed down are decided by guidelines enforced by the city's police union contract.