A 64-year-old man died at a hospital Saturday after officers pepper sprayed and Tased him during an arrest attempt at an east Tulsa motel.
Ollie Lee Brooks was pronounced dead at Oklahoma State University Medical Center after an ambulance transported him from the Super 8 Motel at 1011 S. Garnett Road, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Officers went to the motel at 6:19 p.m. to search the register for guests with outstanding warrants, police spokesman Leland Ashley said. They found that Brooks — who was wanted in Okmulgee County — was staying there.
Two officers went to his room, knocked on the door and, when Brooks answered, reportedly saw drug paraphernalia “in plain sight,” the affidavit states.
Police entered the room to arrest Brooks, and he “immediately resisted arrest by actively fighting officers,” according to the report.
An officer initially used oleoresin capsicum spray — pepper spray — in an attempt to get him to comply so they could put handcuffs on him, but it didn’t “have the desired effect” and Brooks continued to resist arrest, the affidavit states.
After that, the officer used a Taser on Brooks, who “continued to fight,” according to the document. Then Brooks was Tased a second time and “ceased his attempts to fight the officers,” according to the affidavit.
At some point during the altercation, Brooks got away from officers and ran down the stairs. The officers tackled him and struggled a bit before handcuffing him, Ashley said.
The officers then called medics to the scene, Ashley said.
“EMSA got there, cleaned him up, removed the (Taser) prongs from him,” Ashley said. “And at some point officers noticed he appeared to be turning ashen and had slumped over.”
The report states that Brooks appeared to be in “medical distress.”
An ambulance took Brooks to OSU Medical Center, where he later lost consciousness and died, the affidavit states. He was pronounced dead at 8:59 p.m.
The two officers involved in the arrest — Larry Crawford and Barry Hamm — were placed on paid leave following Brooks’ death, although Crawford was the officer who deployed both the spray and the Taser, Ashley said.
A preliminary report from the state’s medical examiner indicates that Brooks had an enlarged heart and likely died from exertion compounded with that condition, Ashley said.
Based on that report, the two officers will return to work Thursday, Ashley said. The medical examiner will determine Brooks’ official cause of death and disclose it in a full report.
Ashley said it appeared that Crawford and Hamm were following protocol during the arrest attempt.
“You look at lethal force and less lethal, and these were two less-lethal forces that the officers used to try to take the suspect into custody,” he said.
A warrant was filed Wednesday to search the hotel room for firearms, ammunition, fingerprints, blood, evidence of Taser deployment, evidence of pepper spray deployment, prescription medications, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, among other items.
The affidavit for the search warrant says investigators were searching for evidence of the altercation between Brooks and the officers, as well as evidence related to Brooks’ death.
Detectives seized cartridges, wires and probes from the Taser deployment; a glass pipe and a clear bag containing cocaine; and other property, according to court documents.
Investigators will turn over their report to the District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether to file charges in the case and against whom, Ashley said.
No outside agencies, such as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, were involved in the investigation, Ashley said.
Brooks had previously been convicted of multiple counts of possession of paraphernalia, as well as resisting an officer and assault and battery, according to court records.
He spent several years in prison, with his most recent stint ending in 2001 for a 1999 conviction for placing bodily wastes on a government employee, Department of Corrections records indicate.