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Officers who dragged man at airport investigated

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Prosecutors said Monday they were awaiting results of an investigation into the actions of officers who were videotaped dragging a man face down across the Oklahoma City airport after he tried to break through security.

James Heidebrecht, 53, was arrested on complaints of trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following the Feb. 20 incident at Will Rogers World Airport, during which he told officers he was trying to meet Newt Gingrich.

The Republican presidential hopeful was not at the airport at the time, officials said. Heidebrecht was released the following day and no charges were filed. He did not return a message left Monday at a phone number listed in his name.

The video, which is time-stamped shortly before 9 p.m., shows three officers confronting a man who can be heard yelling “I’m with the CIA. I’m the director of the CIA.”

The video shows an officer shoot the man with a stun gun and he falls to the floor, yelling “OK, I give up, I give up,” before an officer yells “get your hands behind your back” and he is handcuffed.

Two officers then take Heidebrecht by the ankles and drag him facedown from the room.

The Oklahoma City Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is investigating the entire incident “because of our concerns with the actions of the involved officers,” according to a department statement. The results will be sent to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said the office has not received the report, but that the police chief briefed him on the incident “two or three weeks ago.”

Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said the investigation is not complete and that there is no timetable for its completion.

“Any time an officer makes an arrest with the use of force, other than putting handcuffs on, we investigate,” Nelson said.

Gingrich had arrived at the airport earlier in the day for an afternoon campaign appearance in Tulsa and an evening appearance Oklahoma City. He spent the night in the city and left the following day after speaking to the Oklahoma Legislature.

A Gingrich spokesman did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment Monday.

Will Rogers airport relies on Oklahoma City police for security and does not have its own force, spokeswoman Karen Carney said.

“We have the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) which is responsible for the security of passengers and aircraft and that sort of thing,” Carney said. “But as far as law enforcement, Oklahoma City provides that. And they’re on duty 24/7.”

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