Pawhuska Police Chief Scott Laird said officer are handling the misdemeanor arrests of two of their peers all right.
“Everybody was talked to about it,” Laird said, acknowledging that there had been an effort to communicate with the rank and file officers about what happened.
He referred any additional questions about the situation to City Manager Larry Eulert and City Attorney John Heskett. The City Council was scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The agenda for that meeting contained an item for a proposed executive session regarding “employee matters.”
Pawhuska police officers Robert Louis Rulo III, 23, and Paris Adam Robertson, 25, were recently arrested on misdemeanor charges and booked at the Osage County Jail.
Rulo was arrested on a charge of false certificate by public officer, and Robertson was arrested on a charge of assault and battery. According to a court record, Rulo has entered a not guilty plea and his bail was set at $1,000. His next court date is listed as Nov. 7.
Robertson also entered a not guilty plea and his bail was set at $1,000. His next court date is listed as Nov. 7.
Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden said the cases being brought against the officers stemmed from a situation where one of his jailers thought he saw something and reported it. Virden said he watched video and contacted both Pawhuska Police Chief Scott Laird and District Attorney Rex Duncan.
Virden said Laird had an opportunity to view the videotape and talk with the victim in the matter.
Duncan also saw the video and called on the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to look into the situation, Virden said. The OSBI conducted an investigation and charges were filed.
An affidavit prepared by an OSBI agent indicates that Rulo and Robertson became agitated based on Rulo’s belief that a prisoner had spit in his patrol car. The affidavit details a sequence of alleged behaviors by the two Pawhuska officers that were concerned with an attempt to make the prisoner clean up the spit. The prisoner reportedly denied the spit was his, but offered to clean it if given something with which to do so.
“The incident detailed above was video recorded by the jail’s video surveillance system,” the OSBI affidavit says. “While the angle of the camera and the poor lighting make it difficult to see all that occurred, the majority of the account given by (a jail staff member) appears to be corroborated by the video.”
The OSBI also concluded that Rulo wrote a report and a probable cause affidavit based on the spit-cleaning incident in which he stated something that he had not actually seen, but for which he had taken Robertson’s word.