Caught on Tape - Suspect Pepper Sprayed in Lone Grove

3-2-04 - KXII has obtained a copy of the videotape that is part of an OSBI investigation into allegations of excessive force by a Lone Grove police officer. Officer David Childers used pepper spray on a DUI suspect twice during a December arrest. The incident happened at the police department during the booking process, and was captured on a station video camera.

The tape shows Childers trying to book Steve Martin, by having him sign for his possessions, and also sign an implied consent form for a blood test. But Childers says Martin was argumentative, and refused to return an ink pen.

Childers’ report and the tape also shows Martin jerking the pen away, in what the officer saw as a threatening motion. In the tape, Martin appears to be confused about what he is signing, and then seconds later Childers sprays the pepper spray in his eyes.

At that point, Martin was taken to a restroom where he could wash out his eyes. He cursed several times at the officer, and Childers claims Martin threw a towel at him. When that happened, off-camera, Childers can be heard spraying Martin again.

The OSBI has a copy of the tape, and is more than halfway through an investigationg. Their findings will be turned over to the district attorney. Meanwhile, the Lone Grove PD has already conducted an investigation, and cleared Childers, even keeping him on duty.

Attorneys for Martin released the tape to KXII, but had no comment, other than to say the tape speaks for itself.