Monday, August 22, 2011

Jasper Police Officer Allegedly Responsible for 28% of Department’s Use of Force Incidents Fired Over 2 Excessive Force Incidents This Month

Jasper, Texas

On Wednesday, KJAS News reported on the termination of Sergeant Gary Pullen from the Jasper Police Department. Pullen said Chief Rodney Pearson told him that his dismissal was due to a use of force situation on August 4th, but he believed that it was actually in retaliation for his racial discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On Friday, the Jasper Police Department issued a press release that detailed the reason behind Pullen's termination. The release also detailed the termination of a 911 dispatcher on the same day.

The press release was not sent to KJAS News, but it was sent to The Jasper Newsboy. The Newsboy has shared the press release with KJAS.

This is the press release:

On August 18, 2011 the Jasper Police Department elected to terminate Patrol Sergeant Gary Pullen, which occurred after examination of two uses of force incidents. One on August 4, 2011 and the other August 12, 2011. After investigation of both incidents it was determined that Sgt. Pullen used excessive/unnecessary force on arrested/detained subjects. One individual was laying face down with handcuffs behind him and pepper spray was applied because of verbal provocation. Another individual was attempting to swallow some narcotics and a flashlight was used like a prying tool to attempt to open the subject's mouth with resulted in injury. Several prior disciplinary incidents have occurred with Sgt. Pullen; one resulted in a one day suspension without pay and another with a three day suspension without pay. After examination of the prior use of force incidents it was discovered that Sgt. Pullen was involved in 28% of all use of force incidents in the departments last four years, which showed Sgt. Pullen on average involved in over five a year when the remainder of officers averaged less than one a year.

Over use of force by police officers is unacceptable behavior for the sworn oath of protecting and serving the citizens of our communities, state, and country.

Also on the same date, August 17, 2011, Jasper Police Department elected to terminate dispatcher Trisha Payne. This occurred after investigating the disappearance of files and cash for individuals who had been placed in jail paid their fines and were released during weekends and at night. The files were recovered but over $1,700 cash was taken. Prosecution of the ex-dispatcher will be forthcoming. Jasper Police Department will not tolerate such actions.

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