Journalist sues state police over arrest at accident scene
OKLAHOMA–Bob Sherrill, a reporter and photographer for the Sapulpa (Okla.) Herald, filed a civil suit against a state trooper in late April, alleging the officer used “excessive, malicious and unreasonable force” in his April 1996 arrest, the Associated Press reported. Sherrill was charged in district court in Tulsa with obstructing an officer in the line of duty.
According to AP, Sherrill’s lawsuit claims that Oklahoma Highway patrol trooper Ed Rentie used unreasonable force in the arrest, constituting assault and battery, and that he libeled and slandered Sherrill by making groundless accusations in court.
Sherrill was arrested at the scene of an automobile accident in Sapulpa after Rentie accused him of obstructing the work of emergency personnel trying to free a person pinned in the wreckage.
Sherrill said he had been photographing the scene when Rentie ordered him to leave. Sherrill showed Rentie his press credentials and, following a brief argument, agreed to leave the scene. As he was walking away, Sherrill turned to snap a few more photos. Rentie immediately handcuffed Sherrill, arrested him and took him to prison.
Sherrill’s camera was confiscated and he was jailed for three hours. The camera was returned to the newspaper later the same day. Sherrill was acquitted in October 1996. (Sherrill v. Rentie; Media Counsel: Dale Gardner, Sapulpa)