Fired Sapulpa Police Officer Awarded $100,000

Saturday, March 28th 2009, 9:21 pm
By: News 9

Associated Press 

SAPULPA, Oklahoma - An arbitrator has ordered that a Sapulpa police officer fired for his contact with a 16-year-old girl be awarded $100,000 and be reinstated to the force.

Police officer Michael Knutson's employment was terminated in 2006 and he was later charged with three felony counts of sexual battery on his teenage co-worker at a local pizza restaurant.

All three counts were dismissed in April 2008, due to "lack of prosecutable evidence."

According to documents, arbitrator Ed Bankston determined the police department gave the girl wire listening equipment and a cell phone, and told her to use the phone to contact Knutson.

Bankston said the city had no cause for disciplinary action, much less criminal charges, and engaged in a raw abuse of power.

A telephone message left today for Sapulpa Police Chief Jim Wall was not immediately returned.

Knutson told the Sapulpa Daily Herald he couldn't comment because of the ongoing litigation.