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Police Chief Accused of Attacking Police Officer Husband
A police chief is accused of attacking her husband with a knife but she is adamantly denying the report.
Police officers are trained to protect, to uphold the law, and to de-escalate violence. But, according to the report detailing an incident between Forest Park Police Chief Amanda Bittle and her husband - Oklahoma City Police Officer Bryan Eastridge - that's not what happened on January 6th.
"This case is a mess," says Fox 25 legal analyst David Slane.
Fox 25's Kisha Henry called Bittle to ask her about the report filed by her husband. Her statement sums up this story.
"Can you email me a copy of the written report? I haven't even seen it myself," Chief Bittle told Fox 25's Kisha Henry in a recorded phone call. Amanda declined to do an on-camera interview, but told Fox 25, the police report of a knife-wielding attack on her husband is not true.
The report states the incident occurred at the couple's home in Oklahoma City, in the basement/attached garage. According to Eastridge, he was carrying an electronic sound amplifier when Amanda "came at" him carrying a multi-tool with the knife blade extended. As she approached him, she was yelling things like, "I'm going to tear your stuff up." Eastridge says Amanda began swinging the blade at him. The reporting officer says Eastridge's hand, which was carrying the amplifier, appeared visibly red and slightly swollen. Eastridge says Amanda struck his hand with the knife, and as he turned away and began walking up the stairs, she threw the multi-tool/knife at him, striking him in the back. Domestic violence investigations personnel were called to the scene.
The police report completely redacts both Eastridge's and Bittle's names and personal information. The Oklahoma City Police Department says it is typical to redact names and information in a domestic violence case, however, Slane says, in all of his career, he's never seen the suspect of a domestic violence case redacted.
Fox 25 has not received answers as to why this information has not been openly released to the public.
"Amanda Bittle absolutely made no attack on any person. It did not happen," says Doug Friesen, Amanda's attorney. He says he has represented Amanda in a number of civil cases. "It doesn't have anything to do with anything criminal, anything job related. It's just some of the stuff that happens to all of us in life," said Friesen, declining to explain any further.
Friesen says the report is inaccurate and Eastridge has actually filed an additional report retracting his statements, and asking that no further action be taken. Fox 25 could not confirm that with Eastridge, and the Oklahoma City Police Department says it is protocol not to release supplemental reports.
Friesen says Eastridge filed the report out of fear from a previous argument.
"He became a little bit concerned that there could potentially be a victim's protective order filed against him. And, as we've all heard, the best defense is a good offense," says Friesen. When asked if Eastridge physically abused Amanda, warranting a victim's protection order, Friesen said "no, but there were incidents that could have been misconstrued as abuse."
Fox 25's Kisha Henry asked him to explain. "If my child is about to run out in the street and I grab my child by the arm and yank that arm back because I'm afraid of what's going to happen, I may leave bruises. That's certainly not abuse," says Friesen. He says Amanda did not consider it abuse and "had no intention of filing a VPO," however Eastridge was concerned she might. Fox 25 has not confirmed this to be true.
Amanda released this statement:
"Unfortunately my Husband, who is an Oklahoma City police officer, and I have been having marital problems as a result of his infidelity. As part of those ongoing problems, my Husband filed a police report with the Oklahoma City police department that contained numerous untrue statements.
Clearly, the facts of this case are not contained in the initial report filed with the Oklahoma City Police department. My Husband amended his initial report, withdrew the false allegations he made, and requested that no action be taken. The facts contained in the initial report are completely untrue.
These events are highly personal in nature and are not related to my job or the performance of my duties in any way.
At no time did I take any action that was in any way threatening in nature toward my 6'3 225 lb. husband. We are having serious martial problems that culminated in my Husband making a series of mistakes that have jeopardized our marriage.
Any news outlet that contacted me was notified by either my husband or me that the report was false and amended to reflect the truth. I truly hope that my exemplary record will speak for itself and my Husband and I will be able to work through this incredibly difficult time together."
Fox 25 has not confirmed any of Amanda's statement to be true, as we could not reach Eastridge for comment.
Fox 25 Legal Analyst David Slane says there is no happy ending for this alleged emotional situation that got out of hand, but if Amanda did in fact attack her husband, she could lose her job.
"Many times, if they're convicted, they will lose what's called their CLEET Certification, which means they're no longer allowed to carry a firearm because of that violent conviction," says Slane.
And, if Eastridge says he lied about the attack, that's considered perjury-- making a false police report, which is a misdemeanor.
"The police department's then got to worry-- what if this officer lied on one police report and his job is to make police reports every day?" says Slane.
Slane notes, in many domestic abuse cases, the victim will change their mind about the police report and either out of love or fear will retract their statements. Friesen says that's not the case. "I can categorically deny that there was an attack," says Friesen. "Amanda and her husband have been having some domestic problems. Happily married is a great concept, but in actuality, it doesn't always work out that way. They're trying to work it out. They're going to counseling," he adds.
In the meantime, Amanda is still serving as police chief of Forest Park in the Metro, after an incident that police say would typically warrant some sort of administrative leave. "We're dealing with a chief of police who typically makes those decisions, and clearly, she can't make a decision like that about herself. That makes it more difficult," says Slane.
This case is still under investigation, and has not been turned over for charges yet. Slane says it will be up to the District Attorney to decide what happens next. Oklahoma law says the state can file domestic violence charges against the suspect regardless of the victim's consent.
Posted: Monday, January 28 2013, 04:25 PM CST
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