Vian, Oklahoma – A Vian police officer was forced to resign after she rightfully arrested a city councilman’s son, prompting the police chief to tell the city that they could take his badge as well.
It all started May 2nd when Officer Lindsey Green was told by another police officer about Joshua Smith, who was driving on a suspended license. The man was a repeat offender and also happened to be the son of a city councilman, something that Officer Green did not know at the time.
Officer Green observed Smith’s vehicle commit two moving violations, and she stopped the suspect. After being stopped, the Smith lied and claimed he just didn’t have his license on him.
Because Joshua Smith was a repeat offender, she arrested him and on the way to jail she asked Chief Ted Johnson about reducing the man’s fine, and the chief advised against it, saying he didn’t learn his lesson the first time.
Officer Green booked Smith into the Sequoyah County Detention Center and then returned to the town hall.
Probable cause in a suspended driving case is as black and white as a charge can get. If the person was stopped for a legal reason (he was,) and they were driving (he was,) and their driver’s license is suspended (it was,) then there’s evidence far beyond the level of probable cause. In other words, this isn’t open to interpretation.
Mayor Dennis Fletcher then came to the town hall and told the court clerk to remove Smith from jail. He spent a total of 15 minutes in jail before being released and having charges dropped.
Officer Green told 5 News, “It was ordered for me to drop the ticket and for him to be released from jail. After this incident I was told ‘more than likely you are going to get fired’. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of firing me because I know that I am in the right. I don’t want a termination on my record.”
“I’m at peace because I know I did my job,” Green said. “I took an oath to do my job.”
Sounds like a corrupt city, right? Apparently Chief Ted Johnson agrees. After the small-town politics allowed a criminal to get away and a good officer to lose her job, Chief Johnson submitted his resignation.
“I support her and all of my officers 100 percent,” Johnson said.
The city’s response to all of this? The City of Vian and City Attorney Larry Vickers announced that they are now investigating Chief Johnson and Officer Green for wrongdoing. No specifics were given.