Oklahoma City officer charged with assault and battery for man’s wrongful arrest

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City police sergeant has been charged with a crime after his supervisors say he stepped over the line.

Robert Biegler is still passionate about how he was treated by Sgt. Matthew Downing, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, on the morning of Jan. 26 at N.W. 36th and May Ave.

Biegler said he was going to get a cup of coffee at a convenience store when he saw Downing approach a female driver, who was stopped at a green light.

Biegler said, “He jumps out of his car, runs up to the driver’s window of the little minivan and screams at the driver, ‘What in the f*** is wrong with you!'”

So, he decided to yell something at Downing.

He said, “I just yelled out the window, ‘Road rage sucks!’ and proceeded about my business.”

Moments later, Biegler said Sgt. Downing followed him into the store.

“All of a sudden, boom!  He comes blasting through the door,” Biegler said.  “He says ‘Hey, you think you’re pretty smart?  You’re going to jail now!'”

Biegler said he called out to anyone listening, “Call the police!”

When a supervisor arrived, they decided Sgt. Downing had stepped way over the line.

“What our investigation is saying, is that we don’t believe that the officer had justification for making the arrest at all,” said Capt. Dexter Nelson, with the Oklahoma City Police Department.  “Therefore, he had no justification for using force against that individual.”

Biegler was released, but says he still has numbness in his thumb from being tied up in a police car for nearly an hour.

“This guy needs to go to jail immediately,” he said.  “He absolutely does not need to be on the streets with a gun.  He’s crazy.”

In a report, Downing claimed Biegler seemed mentally unstable and was arrested because he failed to devote his full attention to the road while yelling out his window.

The Oklahoma County district attorney filed one misdemeanor charge of assault and battery against Sgt. Downing, who is currently on paid administration leave, pending the investigation.

Nelson said Downing has not been arrested yet, and the police chief has not decided on any disciplinary action.

Downing has been with the department for 15 years.


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