Oklahoma City police confirm that one of their own officers is facing criminal charges. He's accused of misdemeanor assault and battery for trying to arrest a man back in January.
According to Oklahoma City police, Sgt. Matthew Downing stopped a driver who was not paying attention when the light turned green at N.W. 36th Street and May Ave. at about 10:35 a.m. on Sunday, January 26.
Robert Biegler, 50, drove by the traffic stop and yelled out.
"I just yelled ‘road rage sucks,'" Biegler said.
According to police, Sgt. Downing then left the scene of the original traffic stop to talk to Biegler, following him to a convenience store in the area.
That's where Biegler says Downing acted irrationally against him and another civilian back in January.
"And all of the sudden sure enough, boom, he comes busting through the door yells across the store, ‘think you're pretty smart? You're going to jail now,'"said Biegler.
And that's not all. Biegler says the officer came over to the coffee machine, tackled him, tie wrapped his hands behind his back and dragged him out the door of the store. He says he even threatened to break his arm.
"Well as he is dragging me out of the store I tell the store owner call the cop, call the cops," said Biegler. "And the cop says I am the police,' and I say ‘you're not the police I need.'"
Sgt. Downing's report claims Biegler grabbed the door in the store and wouldn't let go. But Biegler says that's not what happened.
"I couldn't resist against the doorway because my hands were tie wrapped," said Bielger. "It was impossible!"
The store clerk on duty confirms all this did happen. And other officers did arrive, including a supervisor. Now Sgt. Downing is facing a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery, after both internal affairs and the DA's office investigated the incident.
And Biegler says he's glad the DA is pressing charges.
"The badge does not give the police officers any more rights, it allows them to enforce the law - it does not give them the right to attack us," said Biegler. "It does not give them the right to bully us."
We checked and Biegler has not been arrested or charged for any major criminal offenses, only traffic related complaints.
He says on that day in January, he was actually going to the corner convenience store for a cup of coffee. And he says the only reason he even yelled at the officer as he drove by is because he felt the officer overstepped his boundaries with another driver.
"As I got closer, the police officer jumped out of his car all in a huff, runs up to the driver's window of the minivan and screams at the driver and says ‘what in the f is wrong with you?'"said Biegler. "I don't know who was driving the minivan, but I sure do wish they would call and say what happened to them."
Biegler says he does plan to sue both the officer and the department over what happened.
"I was so afraid, I didn't sleep in my house for three days," said Biegler. "I still have no feeling in my left thumb from this incident."
And police tell us in no circumstances should you ever confront or resist an officer physically, since they are trained to perceive that as a threat. Police say instead, you should always ask for a supervisor immediately, or call for one yourself.
Sgt. Downing remains on administrative leave. He has not been arrested since he's out of town. Downing, a 15-year veteran of the force, is part of the Uniform Support assigned to the Traffic Unit.