Pearl Pearson, 64 was stopped by Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers on I-40 January 3. That is about the only point that his account and that of the officers agree on.
The officers say that Pearson was involved in a hit and run accident and that he resisted them and was uncooperative when they finally stopped him, and that he failed to display his hands even after being ordered to do so several times.
Pearson, who is deaf and carries a placard on the driver’s door of his car advising that he is, says that he rolled down his window and was immediately struck in the face by one of the officers. He also says that he did not know why they were stopping him.
His attorney, Billy Coyle said on Tuesday, “My client is completely innocent of these allegations. We are waiting on the OHP report and we are sorting through the facts of the case. My client is profoundly deaf and was trying to give officers his specialty license during the stop.”
Coyle also claims that the beating was not confined to the scene, saying that it continued in the hospital and after he was taken to the jail.
According to family and neighbors Pearson is an amiable man who holds a deep respect for the police. His son, they said, is a police officer as was his son-in-law who is now a deputy sheriff.
“I know they do dangerous jobs and they put their lives on the line, but that is over the top,” neighbor Sacia Law said. “It’s completely unacceptable. Seven minutes of just basically beating someone?”
A statement given by Lt. Brian Orr of the OHP to News Channel 4, Oklahoma City said: “We can confirm the arrest and charges were filed for leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest. The case went to the Oklahoma County District Attorney and any details of this case will have to come from the DA’s office. We will review the arrest administratively and if it is determined there were violations of department policy, we will take appropriate action.”
The channel was also able to determine that officers Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes, have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Spokesman for OHP, Captain George Brown issued a statement saying:
“After an internal review of facts surrounding the arrest of Mr. Pearl Pearson, Chief of Patrol, Col. Rick Adams, has directed investigators to expand the focus of their investigation in order to determine if there were any violations of state law. If through the course of this investigation, it is determined there were violations of department policy and/or state law, the appropriate action will be taken. To date, the office of the chief has not received any outside complaint regarding this event. State Troopers Foster and Hayes remain on suspension with pay pending the results of this investigation.”[/box]
Watch the report via KFOR Oklahoma City below.