In a routine display of local corruption, an Oklahoma police chief and officer have resigned following intimidation by local officials related to the arrest of a city councilman’s son.
The Vian police department’s first full-time female officer, Lindsey Green, said her troubles began when an off duty cop called her on May 2 to report that his neighbor was driving on a suspended license.
Seeing that the individual had previously been cited in November for the same thing, Green found and pulled over his vehicle after the driver stopped at a stop sign but “didn’t signal within so many feet of a turn.”
“He crossed the center line and I stopped him,” Green said. “I asked for his drivers license and he said he didn’t have it with him.”
The driver was Joshua Thomas Smith. Green said he informed her that his dad was a city council member and she responded by telling him “the law’s for everybody and it doesn’t matter who your dad is.” She then arrested him for driving on a suspended license.
According to Green, she was never contacted by the councilman, but received a call from city attorney Larry Vickers. She said Vickers told her she had “no reason to arrest” Smith, that she needed to “drop” her ticket against him, and that he “be released from jail immediately.”
That’s when Vian mayor Dennis Fletcher also reportedly got involved.
“The mayor told me you’re lucky we don’t have a lawsuit on our hands because you had no reason to arrest him,” Green said. “I didn’t think Vian was like that.”
According to Green, she resigned on Monday after other city leaders told her the city council was going to vote to have her fired from the police department.
On Wednesday, Vian police chief Ted Johnson also announced his resignation in response to Green’s treatment by officials, stating that he personally approved the police report that she filed following Smith’s arrest.
“I support her 100 percent,” Johnson said.
In the wake of the resignations, Vickers announced that the city of Vian is now investigating Johnson and Green’s actions for potential wrongdoing. That probe could (and should) be turned over to an independent outside agency.
“It’s ethics. The law is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your dad is a council member or not,” Green said. “They are trying to say probable cause for pulling [Smith] over was wrong. That I went off another officer’s word which is no different than a civilian calling you saying ‘this guy is driving drunk down the road.'”
Green, who is also a volunteer fire fighter and currently working on becoming a paramedic, says she is now looking for a new job elsewhere as a police officer.
“I’m at peace because I know I did my job,” she said. “I took an oath to do my job.”
Local news coverage: