Video Involving Park Rangers Prompts OSBI Investigation

Tuesday, June 9th 2020, 5:21 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois


The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into an incident involving two park rangers at Lake Thunderbird.

A witness, Stephanie Mcwhirter, took video of the incident as it occurred Saturday evening.

Mcwhirter said a man who appeared intoxicated started an open fire.

When two park rangers responded to the incident, video shows them turning the man over by his arm, eventually placing a foot on the man.

In the video, the man appears unconscious. Mcwhirter described it as aggressive and excessive.

“The gentleman immediately collapsed, for who knows what reason? That’s the whole point. You do not know what reason, but he began to start dragging him around,” Mcwhirter said.

Mcwhirter recorded video until the ranger took his foot off the man. She said she saw an ambulance on the way upon leaving the park.

“It’s too much coming from somebody that you’re supposed to be proud of. You’re supposed to be able to call these law enforcement agencies, park rangers, no matter what when you’re in need,” Mcwhirter said.

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department sent News 9 the following statement:

“The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department is aware of the video. The Park Rangers, who are CLEET certified and commissioned Peace Officers under Oklahoma Law, strive to protect the health and safety of our guests in the Parks with dignity and respect. The Department understands that the nature of the incident, in light of current use of force issues surrounding the law enforcement throughout the country, requires the Department to continue to maintain a high level of professionalism. The Department prioritizes the protection of our guests and their civil rights equally. After initial investigation by the Department, the officer put his foot on the suspect’s hip after the suspect had rolled and tried to slip his handcuffs from behind him to the front of his body. An ambulance was called because the suspect was fading in and out of responsiveness. In an abundance of caution, the Department has requested the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the incident as an independent third party."