Two of the Tulsa police officers involved in the arrest of a 53-year-old man that left his face bloodied last month discussed their frustration with what they said was his refusal to comply and also mentioned the possibility of a civil suit against them, according to dashcam footage released Wednesday.
The Tulsa Police Department released 14 videos relating to the Aug. 16 arrest of Jack Morris after an open records request from the Tulsa World.
He was arrested on complaints of assault and battery on a police officer, which occurred amid officers’ attempt to find two suspects believed to have stolen a car. The footage does not show the physical altercation Officers Joshua Dupler and Anthony First had with Morris, but one of the clips includes the officers recounting the sequence of events leading to Morris’ arrest in great detail.
Morris has since been charged with a felony count of assault and battery on a police officer relating to Dupler, as well as misdemeanor complaints of assault on an officer, obstruction and resisting an officer. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment earlier this month and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 25.
Morris is a hunting and fishing guide who has contributed weekly columns for the Tulsa World’s Outdoors page.
“At some point he either headbutted me or threw an elbow,” says one officer, believed to have been Dupler based on court records. “I don’t know but I got a little mark on the side of my face. Then I remember him pushing up (and) you and I — he’s a strong bastard — he’s pushing up, and I fired off three or four closed-fist hand strikes, but they were, you know, medium force, literally just in an attempt to bring his hands back up so we could get access to his hands again.
“And then later on I think (Sgt. Kurt) Dodd or I put a knee into him, and me and you finally got both hands behind his back even though I know there were like four different times when he got his hands away from us.”
Dupler and First were among the officers who surrounded the field as they searched for the theft suspects, at least one of whom they believed tried to hide in a barn on Morris’ property near 49th Street and Harvard Avenue. Morris said he drove to the field after a neighbor had called him to let him know officers were on his property.
Morris, according to his previous statements to the Tulsa World, said he only wanted to check on the safety of one of his horses when the officers on scene told him he could not do so. From there, he alleges, the interaction turned physical and ended with him receiving treatment for nine stitches and a broken arm.
Sgt. Shane Tuell has said the incident will be subject to an internal use-of-force review, which occurs every time an officer uses pepper spray, an impact weapon or less-lethal option, as well as when an officer causes great bodily injury in another way.
While describing how Morris was detained following the use of pepper spray and physical strikes, the officer believed to be Dupler can be heard saying, “I’ve been hit so many dang times. I can’t remember it being a hard blow, but I guess Kurt saw a mark on my face and I know he was, like, whaling around and brought his head up. It was on the left side of my face. Left side above my eye.”
After a few seconds, he says to the other officer, “Like literally, it was just a good (use of force). You sprayed him. We got him in custody. He’s probably still gonna try to sue us just because he’s an asshat and he’s got money.”
The officer goes on to say he thinks Morris is “one of those guys that does not understand how things work” and should have followed commands.
Another officer who encountered Morris’ wife after he was detained expressed confusion over why authorities had him handcuffed, as Morris explained he owned the property and told police the horses there were his. But according to Morris’ arrest report, Dupler and First claimed Morris balled his fists, squared his shoulders and yelled, “Take me to jail, motherf---ers.”
Morris, however, contends he did not make moves to assault any of the officers involved and instead says he was tackled to the ground and hit repeatedly. Dupler and First say in the report Morris continued to resist even after being on the ground, saying he positioned his hands in such a way that made them believe he was trying to stand up.
The series of clips also show Antonio Luna, one of the auto theft suspects, being transported to jail. An officer can be heard telling him he will be booked on a felony complaint, saying, “I don’t really believe you didn’t know it was stolen.”
Luna told the officer he thinks he will be prosecuted for a misdemeanor count of joyriding, which is the charge prosecutors filed against him Aug. 21.