City Of Owasso Releases Video Of Officer Hitting Suspect

Tuesday, July 10th 2012, 2:37 pm
By: Richard Clark

WARNING:  The video accompanying this story is unedited and contains profanity. 

OWASSO, Oklahoma - The city of Owasso has released videos of an arrest from 2011 that cost an officer his job -- a job that he has since won back.

The videos released to The Owasso Reporter show the arrest of Bryan Spradlin on June 30, 2011. Spradlin was arrested by three Owasso police officers who answered a call about an intoxicated man creating a disturbance at an apartment complex.

According to a report by the federal arbitrator who heard the case, Spradlin had to be wrestled to the ground by officers. The report says Spradlin then tried to bite officer Jonathan Foyil, so Foyil pepper sprayed him.

Officers then found a knife in Spradlin's back pocket.

Read the arbitration report

Sergeant H.D. Pitt and Lieutenant Mike Denton, 46, arrived at the scene after the original officers called for backup.  They followed Officer Foyil to the police station at Foyil's request, according to the report.

The videos, recorded by cameras on the officers' lapels, show Spradlin go limp as the officers try to get him up the steps at the police station.  Two of the officers, including Lt. Denton, then lift Spradlin by the handcuffs and carry him inside.  Lt. Denton steps on Spradlin's head at one point.  

Once inside, the videos show Lt. Denton, strike Spradlin in the face with his elbow three times. 

On July 29, 2011, more than a month after the arrest, the department notified Denton that he was being placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.  The investigation was begun after Spradlin filed a complaint with the city.

After hiring an outside investigator, the city fired Lt. Denton, who had been employed by the Owasso Police Department since February 28, 1994.  

Under its collective bargaining agreement with the city, the Fraternal Order of Police and Denton filed a grievance which was heard by federal mediator David Valverde in March.

On June 30, 2012, Valverde ruled in favor of Denton, saying that he "used unreasonable and unnecessary force against [Spradlin].  However, the discipline imposed is excessive under all circumstances."

Valverde ordered the termination changed to a written reprimand and that Denton be given his back pay and benefits.

Court records show Spradlin pleaded guilty after his arrest to public intoxication.

Keep checking back here for more details, and News On 6 viewers can watch Emory Bryan's story at 6 p.m.