Police Tase, Drag Man Through OKC Airport

Friday, March 23rd 2012, 7:04 pm
By: News 9

Police announced an on-going investigation Friday into one of their own after a rough arrest in February at Will Rogers World Airport.

Police used a taser then dragged a man across the floor. Airport security cameras caught it all.

"What we have seen on the video caused us some concern," said Captain Dexter Nelson with the Oklahoma City Police Department. "That's why we launched the investigation."

A police report from February 20 showed James Heidebrecht tried to enter a secure area. When an officer confronted Heidebrecht, the suspect claimed he was part of the CIA and was at the airport to meet presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

The man can be heard in the security footage claiming, "I'm with the CIA." In the police report, officers described Heidebrecht as combative. The security video shows one officer shoved Heidebrecht to get the man away. That was then an officer fired his taser, striking Heidebrecht. The audio from the recordings revealed that officers repeatedly commanded the suspect to "put your hands behind your back."

Nelson says officers fired the taser multiple times during the arrest, which is part of their standard training.

"He's a big man and they're trying to get him to put his hands behind his back," said Nelson. "What we're trained is, if you're dealing with somebody with a taser and their hands are still up underneath them, they're still considered a threat."

When the officers finally gained control of Heidebrecht, they each grabbed a leg and dragged him, face down, across the floor to a police area inside the airport.

Oklahoma City police said after the department reviewed the video, it placed one of the arresting on restrictive leave, which means he does not interact with the public. 

Heidebrecht was originally charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Captain Nelson said those charges have all since been dismissed.