Tulsa - At a meeting designed to advocate against passage of a medical cannabis state question in Oklahoma, a proponent of State Question 788 was forcibly removed by Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.
Video of the incident appears to show Walton pushing Chip Paul’s head into a door as he’s holding him by the neck and forcing him outside.
Walton tells KRMG in his opinion, Paul was being disruptive at the meeting, organized by an organization called “Light of Hope,” and held at the Claremore Conference Center Monday evening.
“When a speaker was making a point, he would laugh out loud,” Walton says.
He adds that Paul was resisting his effort to take him outside, after he asked Paul to step into the hall and speak with him.
“He balks a little bit right there, his left hand was free,” Walton told KRMG. “Again, I push him toward the door but no intentions there to ram his head through the wall.”
He went on to add that “I’ll say it loud and clear. I have no regrets for my actions to try and gain control of an organized effort to disrupt the meeting.”
Paul’s account of the incident, and his behavior leading up to it, differ significantly.
“There was absolutely no organization and no attempt to disrupt the meeting,” he told KRMG. “I did not say anything. I had my hand up, I did not say one public word in that meeting. Not one.”
He says Walton never asked him to leave, before grabbing him by the neck and forcing him toward the exit.
“I didn’t resist in any way. Again, this was a public forum. I did not break any law. I was quiet, I was not disruptive. He did not ask me to leave, if he would have asked me to leave I would have complied.”
He says he doesn’t know if Walton intentionally slammed his head into the door.
But he plans to push the issue in court.
“I’m meeting with an attorney in the morning, and I will absolutely pursue the strongest and most formidable legal charges that I can, because this is wrong. So, if I can file assault charges, I’m gonna. If I can file civil charges, I’m gonna. I won’t let this go, not for one second. This is wrong. I have as much right to be in that building as he does.”
Paul is a business owner who belongs to the Chambers of Commerce in both Claremore and Owasso, he tells KRMG.
“People know me, and they know who I am and what I’m about, and this won’t fly well. It just won’t. He picked the wrong guy, he really did.”