The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
July 20, 2017
December 20, 2020

A Tulsa police sergeant turned himself in about a week ago on an assault and battery charge after he punched a fellow police officer responding to a domestic situation at a child's birthday party.

According to reports, Sgt. Dedlorn Sanders Jr., 51, was off duty on June 30 when he responded to a call from his daughter regarding a disagreement between her and her baby's other family members at the party. Sanders arrived at the scene and was attempting to leave with the baby when other Tulsa police officers arrived.

Officer Joshua Griffith stopped Sanders's vehicle, and police told Sanders that he could not legally leave with the child. Dash cam footage shows Sanders gesturing wildly at his fellow officers before exiting the vehicle with the baby, whom he handed to another person.

Sanders was described as "visibly agitated" when told he could not leave the premises with the infant. He and Officer Heath Brownell got into a confrontation after Sanders told Brownell that he was going to take the baby anyway. Brownell said that Sanders was not free to leave the premises, and a female officer stepped in between the two men to attempt to diffuse the situation.

When Sanders attempted to get into his vehicle, despite being told he was not free to leave, Brownell drew his taser, and another officer stepped in to try to prevent Sanders from getting in the car.

Sgt. Sanders returned to the driver's side of the car, prompting Officer Brownell to grab his arm. As Brownell tried to subdue Sanders, the sergeant swung his arms, striking Brownell in the face.

Although Sanders was not arrested at the scene, a subsequent investigation led to the sergeant's arrest on a complaint of assault and battery. Sanders turned himself in on July 13, and was booked into the Tulsa County Jail, and released almost immediately on $5,000 bond. For more information on assault charges and possible defenses click here.

He has been placed on paid administrative leave while his case is pending.


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