Monday afternoon, the Walton County Sheriff released a statement regarding the arrest of the head of the Oklahoma mental health department.
Comm. Terri White, was arrested by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office in Florida on Friday, July 21, on a misdemeanor battery complaint.
According to the booking record, White was brought in on a misdemeanor battery complaint – touch or strike charge. Florida law defines the complaint as when a person “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.”
White addressed her arrest and at one point said, “I believe that law enforcement in Oklahoma would have responded differently, and am thankful that they have the training and commitment to do so.”
Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr. disagreed and said the following:
“In this situation, it's very apparent Ms. White is either unwilling or unable to accept the results of her actions. The simple truth is that she escalated this situation by berating and then the approaching the victim. The victim was seated when she approached him and threw water in his face. This behavior is not what we would expect from professional adults in positions of trust.
After the media discovered the incident, Ms. White made statements implying her arrest would not have been made in Oklahoma. I doubt that to be the case. Ms. White seems to believe her position of authority places her above approach. I would suggest to you, that it is this attitude that resulted in her sitting in the Walton County Jail.
The arrest was not dismissed on merit, but because this is a misdemeanor charge and all parties involved live in Oklahoma and were unwilling to cooperate. No one is ever the bad guy in their own story.
This call was handled to the letter of the law. When news broke, it was have been respectful of her to accept her role in the incident and move on. Not point fingers and place blame on our office.”