Attorney Defends Trooper's Actions in Paramedic Scuffle
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The attorney representing a trooper who was involved in a scuffle with a paramedic is speaking out to defend his client's reputation.
The video of Trooper Daniel Martin's May 24 altercation with Creek Nation Paramedics has attracted a lot of attention locally and nationally.
The scuffle happened on Highway 62, near Paden, after the ambulance failed to yield to Trooper Martin while he was responding to a call. After the call is canceled, Martin returns to stop the ambulance. The fight broke out during the traffic stop.
The Okfuskee County District Attorney has declined to file charges against anyone involved. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has completed an investigation of the incident but has not released the results.
Attorney Gary James said the ongoing OHP investigation prevented Martin from telling his side of the story.
Trooper Martin returned from serving in Iraq two months ago and Jones said he was a hometown hero until the "undue" publicity of the scuffle with the paramedic tarnished his reputation.
"People portrayed him as a good man and in a span of two months, he has been made out to be everything," James said.
James said Trooper Martin was within his legal authority to stop the ambulance because the ambulance was not running with its lights or sirens on.
James maintains the actions of Trooper Martin were unorthodox, but lawful. He said Maurice White, the paramedic treating a patient in the back of an ambulance, should never have intervened after the ambulance was pulled over and in doing so broke the law and set in motion a violent chain of events.
But trooper dash cam video seems to support White's account. His attorney Richard O'Carroll said White had no choice but to intervene but in doing so, was never disrespectful.
"He was poised. He addressed the issue immediately. He was concerned about the patient. He was concerned about losing the driver," O'Carroll said.
Phil Reid, who is in charge of Broken Arrow's EMT service, said he would have handled the whole situation differently.
"I really feel like I would stay with my patient and see if my partner could handle what was going on," said Reid.
Some paramedics say White did the right thing by talking directly with the trooper.
"I honestly believe the paramedic was acting in the best interest of the patient that was on board. He wanted to find out what was going on and at least tell the trooper there was a patient on board," said Lance Elrod, Broken Arrow paramedic.
The dash cam video shows White checking in on the patient. Trooper Martin also pokes his head in. At the end, so does the driver. But for this entire episode, no one is inside the ambulance with the patient.
As a paramedic, Reid said he believes Maurice White's biggest motivation was getting his ambulance, back on the road.
Maurice White's attorney also that the video shows that Trooper Martin was trying to detain the driver and White could not let that happen.
"With no driver, then that patient would still be sitting there at the side of the road," said O'Carroll.
White appeared on the CBS Early Show on Tuesday morning and said he thinks Trooper Martin should have to resign.
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