Video Of Police Arresting Suspect On OU Campus Stirs Controversy

Tuesday, September 9th 2014, 11:36 am
By: News 9

A video showing several police officers arresting a suspect on the OU campus is stirring controversy on social media.

The video shows the suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Willie Cannon, being arrested by two Norman police officers and an OU campus police officer.

According to Norman police, officers contacted Cannon after they received a call accusing him of “looking up girls' skirts” on campus corner. Cannon denied the allegations, and he was released after officers said they couldn't get in touch with the person who reported the incident.

As the officers were working on getting more information about Cannon, two females approached the officers and reported that Cannon followed them closely as they were walking along campus corner down Asp Street. He was also seen touching himself while he was following the victims.

Officers approached Cannon again and asked him to sign the docket, but Cannon refused. Officers said they explained to Cannon that the signature was only his promise to contact the court, not him saying he was guilty. But Cannon still refused to sign it.

Officers told Cannon he had ten seconds to sign the docket or he would be arrested. Cannon still refused to sign the docket.

Officers then asked Cannon to place his hands behind his back. But Cannon refused to do so and resisted arrest. A Norman police officer said he began using pain compliance techniques, but it was unsuccessful.

The officer said he then attempted a common peroneal stun on Cannon's right thigh, but Cannon continued to resist arrest. The officer had to use a Taser on Cannon. But Cannon still fought with the officers and would not comply with the officers' commands.

Officers were able to handcuff the suspect following the struggle. He was taken to Norman Regional Hospital to be checked out. After being medically cleared, he was transported to the Cleveland County Jail.

A video of the arrest posted to News 9's Facebook page has many questioning if police used excessive force. In the video, Cannon can be heard screaming while he was being taken into custody.

OU officials released the following statement concerning the incident,

"The Norman Police Department detained an individual being pursued by them on Monday afternoon for an off campus incident. The person ran onto the OU campus and one member of OU Police department also responded when the individual arrived on campus. The person being pursued is suspected of inappropriate sexual activity. While there is no reason to believe that the OU Police Officer took any inappropriate action, the University will carefully review the situation. The matter is currently being handled by the Norman Police Department."

Norman Police Chief Keith L. Humphrey released the following statement,

"To our Norman community, we have nothing to hide and will be totally transparent as the law will allow. I can assure you that the actions were justified, and hopefully each of you will understand when details are presented in the very near future. The use of force never looks good, and the application of force by an officer is never received as a positive action by the community. However, when we educate our community regarding why officers may have to utilize force it can reduce the negative perceptions that come with the actions.”

Norman police said Cannon is homeless, and OU officials confirmed that Cannon is not a student.

News 9 reporter Justin Dougherty is following this story. He will have more on News 9 at 6 p.m.