Footage obtained by FOX23 shows the Pawhuska city manager telling a police officer not to arrest a man suspected of drunk driving -- the man is also the city attorney.
The footage has gone viral in the Osage County community and people there are upset.
The Pawhauska police officer was wearing a body camera and it recorded the exchange he had with the city manager. The footages shows the manager telling the officer to let City Attorney Jesse Worten sober up instead of arresting him right away.
On July 3, Worten was involved in an accident by his home on 18th and Leahy in Pawhuska. Worten crashed his car after allegedly driving drunk.
“He can’t walk -- he can’t walk," the voice of Cpl. William McDaniels with the Pawhuska Police Department is heard on the recording.
"Where is he?" asked City Manager Paul McAlexander.
"He’s in the front seat of my car. We had to spill him over in there. He is hammered. I mean beyond hammered,” McDaniels replied. “He’s not just had a few … I mean he’s hammered."
A report obtained by FOX23 said Worten told officers he was drunk. He appears to slur his words on the recording.
According to the report, because of who Worten was the Assistant Chief Brian Rumsey, who was also on the scene, tried calling his chief for guidance -- but Chief Scott Laird was on vacation. That's when Rumsey called McAlexander -- who then started giving the McDaniels directions.
“Do I write him a ticket? What do I do?” asked McDaniels on the recording.
“No. Not right now … we’ll take care of it on Monday. Right now, we’ll put him in a cell until he sobers up. Or until [his wife] shows up and gets him,” answered McAlexander on the recording.
Many people in Pawhuska have seen this video and feel Worten was given special treatment.
“If I went and done that, I would have been thrown in [jail]. Handcuffed all that,” said Clarence Brothers, a Pawhuska resident.
“If I got arrested if the city manager going to come save me too or any other person?”asked Cassandra Brownwolf, a Pawhuska resident.
The city’s new acting attorney did not want to comment.
The city manager did not return FOX23’s call. And Worten’s wife, who is also a city councilor, did not want to comment.
Worten was eventually arrested and given a municipal ticket, but hours after it was too late to take a Breathalyzer test. This means he won’t lose his license.
In the report, Laird said if he had been there, he would have placed Worten under arrest right away.