Arrest Of Deputy For Sexual Assault Is Third Of Its Kind In Oklahoma


Wednesday, September 17th 2014, 8:20 pm
By: Tess Maune


The arrest of Gerald Nuckolls, a Tulsa County Sheriff's deputy, is the third of its kind in just the past month.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and an Oklahoma City Police officer are also accused of sexual misconduct with women; and the arrests have some women worried and wondering what their rights are.

“When I'm pulled over I feel very fearful,” said Tulsa resident Jodi Gajdos.

“You don't know if they're trustworthy or what's gonna happen to you,” Tulsa resident, Megan Mares said.

In just the past month, a Tulsa County Deputy, an OHP Trooper and an Oklahoma City police officer have been accused of sexually assaulting women while on the job.

9/17/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Undersheriff: Deputy's Arrest 'Punch In The Gut For Everyone'

“They're only accused at this point. We don't know all the facts, but it seems like there's some conduct that's way out of line,” Attorney Clark Brewster said.

In all three cases, some of the inappropriate behavior reportedly happened in their patrol car during traffic stops, which begs the question, if an officer asks you to get out of your vehicle, do you have to comply?

Brewster said yes and no.

“He has a right to ask you to exit the car for safety reasons, but I think you also have a right to ask whether that is necessary, in a polite way, and ask him why he wants you to exit the car,” he said.

9/5/2014 Related Story: OKC Officer Accused Of Sexual Assaults Bonds Out Of Jail

OHP Captain, George Brown said asking a person to get out their car is almost always a safety precaution for both the driver and officer. He said his troopers will rarely ask a woman to get in a patrol car during a traffic stop.

“We take steps to leave them in the car to make them feel comfortable” said Brown.

Brown said it's also OHP policy to call in a female officer to pat down a woman who may be involved in a crime; and with every stop, he said, the dash cam should be rolling.

9/15/2014 Related Story: OHP Trooper Arrested For Kidnapping, Sexual Assault

Brown said the video is monitored by supervisors, and if the camera turns off a red flag goes up.

Brewster suggests that citizens record their traffic stops, too.

“It's probably not unreasonable to have a recorder if you have genuine concern, or video, and tell the officer you're videoing it to put yourself into a position where there might be some kind of protection,” Brewster said.

He added, if the conversation crosses the line, that's when a call for help is necessary.

“If the officer is engaging in predatory conduct or being off-color or improper in any way, that justifies telling him you're gonna use the phone to call the authorities and you're gonna stop having further dialogue with him,” Brewster said.

Brown said an inappropriate conversation should never occur during a traffic stop.

“We use understanding and good, common sense and good judgment in dealing with people, and we know there are some instances of some people being hypersensitive to this now,” Brown said.

He said scrutiny has been rough, but understands the concerns and hopes the actions of honest troopers, officers and deputies, will help regain the public's trust.

“There are entirely more good officers than there are the few bad apples that exist out there, and we want people to know that,” Brown said. “We have a lot of good troopers, a lot of good officers out there doing a lot of good things daily, and we want to continue that and have the public continue their trust in us.”

Brown said if you feel like something wasn't right during a traffic stop, report it, otherwise, the agency won't know there's a problem.

For OHP, you can dial *55.