An Owasso, Oklahoma police officer is facing charges after beating a suspect with his shotgun. Back in June, police officers were chasing Cody Matthews who was wanted on an outstanding warrant. After the chase ended, officer removed Matthews from the pickup truck and threw him on the ground.
Owasso Police Lt. Mike Denton began violently beating Matthews in the head with the butt of his department issued shotgun. In all, Matthews received several blows to the face and head. Lt. Mike Denton was suspended for one week due to the incident.
Lt. Mike Denton has now been charged with felony assault and battery and misdemeanor reckless conduct with a fire arm.
This horrific incident could have been a perfect opportunity for the elusive ‘good cop’ I keep hearing so much about. In fact, one of the officers realized that Lt. Denton crossed the line and pulled him back away from Matthews. However, my dreams of finding a ‘good cop’ diminished when I read the officer’s statement, which said that “the suspect was still resisting after they forced him to the ground.” Of course, the video disproved his statement and neither his superiors or the prosecuting attorney believe a single word of it.
This wasn’t the first time that Lt. Mike Denton has been in trouble for excessive force. Back in 2011, he was actually fired from Owasso Police Department for violating the department’s ‘use of force’ policy. In the video below, Denton can be seen stepping on the head, stretching the handcuffed arms and elbowing the face of a Collinsville man who was arrested on a public intoxication complaint on June 30, 2011.
However, Arbitrator Edward Valverde ruled in 2012 that Denton should be reinstated, saying that although the officer used unreasonable and unnecessary force, his actions “did not rise to the level of excessive force within the meaning of existing case law.” Lt. Denton was given his old job back with the department in 2014, along with a whopping $283,420.04 in benefits relating to base pay, vacation, sickness and health.