HOLDENVILLE, Okla. – The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is speaking out after the family of a special needs man said troopers assaulted him.
“The next thing I know, there’s four highway patrol up here. The highway patrol was out in my yard with AR-15s pulled, pistols drawn, pointing at Shawn,” said Marvin Beck, Shawn Beck’s father.
But, OHP said that’s not how things happened, and they showed News 4 a video that hasn’t been released to the public.
Investigators said the ordeal started with a pursuit and the trooper lost sight of the suspect on a dirt road. The trooper then came across Shawn.
“During the encounter, he tries to make contact with him, small talk, and asks for some identification,” said Capt. Paul Timmons with OHP. “At that time, the individual reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of pruning shears.”
OHP said the trooper felt threatened and drew his gun. In the video, we were able to see Shawn riding off on his four wheeler before stopping again and appearing to wave the shears.
Dashcam then shows the trooper arriving at the man’s home, and Shawn’s mother can be heard telling the trooper her son is mentally disabled. Other troopers then arrive.
“I don’t think that he really knew what he was dealing with until he got to that home and one of the parents informed him of the disability,” Timmons said.
The trooper can be heard explaining to the family he was afraid of being stabbed with the shears. In the video, we also didn’t see any firearms drawn.
The video doesn’t show us what happened inside of the home, but we could hear most of it.
There was a struggle, and Shawn was injured. We asked OHP if Shawn was punched.
“When they took him into custody, they did use compliance strikes to get him to comply because he kept his arms up underneath him,” Timmons said. “So, they did what they were trained to do to get compliance in order to get handcuffs on him.”
Highway patrol also has protocols in place for these types of situations.
“Our troopers have to go through a mental awareness class for updates. So, they get training every year,” Timmons said.
News 4 put in a formal request for the video and is waiting to hear back.
Shawn is due in court on Friday, and his family still said guns were drawn and they have more questions.