OKC Police Admit Officers May Have Gone Too Far In Curfew Arrests

Wednesday, July 20th 2011, 8:57 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City police admit they are investigating the actions of some of their officers.

It stems from the recent arrests of a number of teenagers in Bricktown who were accused of violating the city's curfew.

According to some of the teens' parents, some came to see a movie, others to eat. They were outside waiting to be picked up and that's when they say their kids' nightmares began.

"I'm coming down this street, what I see are police vans and police cars lining down this circle which is kind of frightening," said Valenthia Doolin whose kids were arrested.

What she didn't know at the time was that officers had gathered outside the Harkins theatre in Bricktown to arrest her kids and others for violating the city's curfew. But, Doolin said, police made one very obvious mistake when they hauled the teens off in police vans.

"I'm convinced that my kids and the other kids that I talked to that night are telling the truth and they were on those vans prior to 11 o'clock which means they really didn't violate curfew," she said.

Peggy Hammons' 15-year-old daughter was one of the teens arrested.

"They never once, before they put them in the paddy wagon, asked them if they had been to the movies or why they were here, just ‘get into the wagon,'" Hammons said.

Under city ordinance, police officers must ascertain a person's age and reason for being out if they are believed to be violating curfew. The ordinance states: "Before taking any enforcement action a police officer shall ask the offender's age and reason for being in the public place."

For that reason, police admit some officers may have gone too far.

"We think there may have been…" Capt. Patrick Stewart of the Oklahoma City Police Department said, "We have concern, we just want to say that we have concern."

The teens' parents say they, too, have concerns.

"You teach your kids to respect authority figures and that the police are here to keep them safe. What do I say to them now when the police are the ones doing the harm?" Hammons said.

The parents took their concern to the city council where they say Police Chief Bill Citty did apologize to them.