Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 27, 2012

Welling man alleges police brutality

TAHLEQUAH — The District Attorney’s Office in Cherokee County has been asked to investigate allegations of police brutality.

Janet Cobb spoke to sheriff’s investigators this week and said her son, Steven Cobb, of Welling, was arrested June 24. She said her son later told her that he was assaulted by officers from the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and Cherokee Nation Marshal Service during that arrest. Then on Tuesday, Janet Cobb again spoke to the sheriff’s office to tell them her son also alleges a sheriff’s deputy took part in the assault.

Her son was unable to meet with investigators to discuss the incident because he had been medicated for his injuries, Janet Cobb told the sheriff’s investigators.

A booking sheet from the Cherokee County Detention Center indicates Steven Cobb was arrested on allegations of driving under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, possession of controlled dangerous substance-methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, and improper stopping on a road. The OSRC is listed as the arresting agency.

OSRC ranger supervisor Capt. Bill James said the arrest was early Sunday morning just off of Welling Road. One of the OSRC’s rangers, he said, was patrolling near Welling bridge along with his brother, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. The ranger left to take his brother to his nearby home, and encountered Cobb’s vehicle while en route.

“This car was barely traveling down the road and stopped in the middle of the road ahead of them,” said James. “They got out to check to see what the problem was – the guy was tweeking real bad.”

James said Cobb was wearing a “fanny pack,” and as the officers were checking on him, he continued to pull at the pack. The officers asked Cobb to remove the pack, but Cobb allegedly refused. Officers then reached in and took the keys out of the vehicle’s ignition and put them down inside the car, and told Cobb to step out of the vehicle, James said.

Cobb refused officers’ request, so the officers opened the vehicle door and the trooper reached into the vehicle. Cobb allegedly kicked the trooper in the shoulder and arm, and also kicked the ranger, James said. Officers grabbed Cobb by the legs and pulled him out of the vehicle, then used a neck restraint to subdue Cobb and place him in handcuffs, according to James. Cobb was then placed into a police vehicle to be transported to jail.

“The only force used on him was to pull him out of the car when he started kicking [officers],” said James. “He didn’t request any medical help, he had no injuries about him. When he was booked into the jail, he was photographed.”

James said approximately four other officers arrived at the scene once the ranger and trooper had arrested Cobb. Photographs have been taken of the bruises and injuries inflicted upon the trooper who was allegedly kicked by Cobb.

James on Tuesday said the entire file of the incident has been turned over to the DA’s office.

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