An Oklahoma state trooper who got into an an altercation with an ambulance driver that was captured in a dashboard camera video has been placed on paid administrative leave and is facing questions about whether his actions were appropriate.
During a routine police call May 24, Trooper Daniel Martin passed an ambulance but minutes later returned to pull it over.
Martin was upset because he said paramedic Maurice White failed to yield and even made an obscene gesture.
But White had a different account of the incident.
"He was assaulting a paramedic in the act of carrying out his duty. At this point the trooper became even more enraged," he said.
What the Video Shows
The video shows the medic getting out of the ambulance to ask the trooper, "What's wrong? What's going on?"
"I'm gonna give you a ticket for failure to yield," Martin replied. "You don't need to give me no hand gestures now. I ain't gonna put up with that s--t;. Do you understand me?"
White had a patient in his ambulance at the time of the incident and tried to explain that to the officer.
"We got a patient in this," he told the officer.
By this point the patient's family, who were following the ambulance, had gathered and began shooting video of the incident with a cell phone.
"I'm getting evidence," one of the patient's relatives said.
At one point, the video shows the officer grabbing the paramedic's throat. Meanwhile, the patient's family watched what was happening and tried to get help.
The patient can be heard screaming in the background during one part of the video and the patient's sister jumped into the ambulance to calm her down.
"Imagine a woman strapped to a gurney with an IV/EKG and you're hearing your family members screaming outside," White said. "That was torture for this lady."
Martin's attorney said he had every right to pull the ambulance over because it didn't have its sirens on.
"[The exemption] shall apply only when the driver is properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal or flashing red or blue lights," White's attorney, Gary James, said during a press conference Monday.
James also said the paramedic escalated the situation by challenging the trooper. Martin ended up scuffling with White.
Only after another trooper arrived was the ambulance was allowed to continue.
The paramedic said the reason the ambulance's sirens weren't on was because the situation wasn't life threatening and therefore they weren't necessary. White said because the patient was suffering from chest pains the loud noise would have only made the situation worse.
Authorities placed Martin on paid administration leave on June 1 pending an investigation.
After initially refusing to do so, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol released the eight-minute dashboard camera video showing the incident.
OHP Capt. Chris West said in a statement the highway patrol decided to release the video because it had "drawn enormous attention" and a department investigation wouldn't be affected.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.