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ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. – An Oklahoma organization is speaking out after a man in support of medical marijuana was removed from a meeting by sheriff’s deputies.
“I still feel his hands on my throat, to be honest with you,” Chip Paul, chairman of Oklahomans for Health, told KJRH. “It’s not leaving marks clearly but I still feel his hands on my throat. I certainly still feel the bump on my head where they ran me through the door.”
Paul, who is a supporter of State Question 788, was attending a meeting on Monday that was being held by the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office against the passage of medical marijuana.
Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton says deputies did remove Paul from the meeting because he was being disruptive.
“I told him to be quiet and you’ll have your time to talk. He turned around and continued to talk and carry on the same way he did before, disruptive,” Sheriff Walton said.
Paul disputes that, saying he just raised his hand to make a comment. Instead, he believes that he was removed because tensions were running high throughout the room.
“They had people asking questions and really questioning this ‘no’ narrative that, frankly, is not true, and I think people were calling that out,” he said.
Both men say that Sheriff Walton wrapped his hands around Paul’s neck and forced him out of the meeting. The sheriff says it was the only way to grab him since he was sitting down.
“They were there only strong enough to gain control of him. It was effective. It worked,” he said.
Paul claims that his head was then rammed into the door on the way out of the room.
ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement:
“The violent actions of the Rogers County Sheriff signal a disturbing reliance on government force to silence political speech. Law enforcement must use force only under the most serious and threatening circumstances, a standard that Mr. Paul’s behavior did not come close to meeting on Monday night. The Rogers County Sheriff is not a stranger to using his taxpayer funded office to wage a private war against SQ 788, but with the unwarranted, violent removal of Mr. Paul from a public forum, the Sheriff’s actions have become criminal.
It is clear that Sheriff Walton believes that medical cannabis will disrupt his business model of arresting patients and seizing their cash and property; in fact, he has a history of using his government office and public funds in questionable ways to protect his bottom line. However, his political fear mongering escalated to dangerous and criminal levels last night when he and his deputies departed from their civic duty and unleashed their rage on an invited member of the public. Sheriff Walton’s criminal act is also a serious violation of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions. Failure to take appropriate action against the Rogers County Sheriff would send a clear message that authoritarian government actors in Rogers County are above the law and unaccountable to the citizens they ostensibly serve.”