Tribal prosecutors have charged an Okmulgee County jailer accused of assaulting the Muscogee Nation Lighthouse Police deputy chief during a dispute over jurisdiction inside the jail.
The Muscogee Nation has issued an arrest warrant for Matthew Douglas on complaints of protected status battery. Officials claim jailer Douglas told Deputy Chief Dennis Northcross on Monday they don’t accept suspects from Lighthorse Police when an officer tried to book a suspect. The Lighthorse officer allegely told jailers it’s against state law for the jail to refuse to book a lawfully arrested person.
Body cam video shows a jailers refusing to book the suspect. One jailer then shoves Northcross while another keeps a Lighthorse officer away from the conflict.
Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice said jailers booked the suspect after all procedures were completed. County jails in Oklahoma regularly hold suspects prosecuted in federal and tribal courts.
Muscogee officials say they can arrest Douglas because of an addition to the Violence Against Women Act that allows Tribal governments to prosecute non-Native people who assault Native officials.
Rice said Thursday that none of his deputies have been arrested. He also said tribal law enforcement were kept out of the jail when they tried to serve the warrant on Tuesday after “several phone conversations made by legal experts” about the warrant.
She said a Lighthorse officer noticed a man was driving the wrong way in a school zone, and the man later told officers he had fentanyl in his possession.
When Lighthorse officers tried to drop the man off at the Okmulgee County jail, an employee said he would not take him into custody, Wisner said. Muscogee officials also released a video, which they said shows the incident. It was captured by an officer’s body camera.