Airport Taser Probe

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 11:04am

Oklahoma police investigate three officers for use of taser during airport security breach.

Oklahoma City police are investigating three of their own after a disturbance at Will Rogers World Airport.

Last month police arrested a man who tried to breach security while attempting to meet GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.

The entire incident, caught on tape, lasted about four minutes.

Right now the police department's internal affairs unit is examining the video to determine if their officers used improper or excessive force.

With the suspect on the ground, three officers tried to slap on handcuffs.

One officer, Sgt. Joseph McMahon, repeatedly used his taser on 53-year-old James Heidebrecht.

"The whole thing in general is being examined. You have to look and judge for yourself. We're investigating the incident in its entirety," Oklahoma City police Captain Dexter Nelson said.

Police say the disturbance began when the suspect tried to bypass security, walking the wrong way past this checkpoint.

Heidebrecht claimed he had documents to give to Newt Gingrich, who spent the day in town on a campaign stop.

With the suspect finally in handcuffs, the officers dragged Heidebrecht away by his feet.

"What we have seen on video caused us some concern. That's why we launched an investigation," Nelson said.

No one came to the door at the Heidebrecht's home, but despite being dragged face first across the floor, he has not filed a complaint against the department.

Police started the investigation on their own.

"When an officer is involved in a use of force arrest, a supervisor will conduct the investigation regarding use of force," Nelson said. "What we've seen caused us concerns, so we launched the internal investigation."

Gingrich did fly through the airport but was never in danger.

Officials at the airport say the investigation is a police matter.

Two of the officers remain on regular duty; the third, Sgt. McMahon, is on restricted duty.

So far no criminal charges have been filed against any of the three officers.
 

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