No Charges Filed in Police Chief's Domestic Abuse Case

The police chief of a small Oklahoma police department will not face criminal charges after a domestic assault allegation earlier this year. Forest Park police Chief Amanda Bittle-Eastridge was accused of swinging a knife at her husband, Oklahoma City police Sergeant Bryan Eastridge. The alleged incident occurred on January 6, but local media did not become aware of the incident until they received a tip later in the month.

Domestic Assault Charges

According to a police report, Sgt. Bryan Eastridge accused his wife of swinging a multi-tool with the knife extended at him while he was carrying an amplifier and yelling that she was going to "tear [his] stuff up." He said she hit him in the hand with the tool and then threw it at his back as he was walking away.

By the time the media received word of the alleged incident, both the accused and the accuser denied anything other than a verbal argument occurred. Chief Eastridge told reporters, "It was a verbal argument, period. . . . Everybody in the world goes through marital issues, but there was not . . . anything physical." Sgt. Eastridge said that he and his wife love each other and that the alleged incident was misconstrued: "I want you to know she didn't swing a knife at me. That statement got completely misconstrued ... I clarified that for the investigators, too, later on."

Under Oklahoma law, domestic assault charges may be filed against a suspect even if the alleged victim does not wish to cooperate and press charges. However, in this case, prosecutors found that there was insufficient evidence to file charges or prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Bittle Eastridge assaulted her husband. According to Cleveland County assistant district attorney Susan Caswell, "There is insufficient evidence to prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt. We have an uncooperative alleged victim.” Cleveland County prosecutors were investigating the case after Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater disqualified his office because his chief investigator is Bryan Eastridge's father.

Spousal arguments can quickly escalate to violence when they are fueled by intense emotion. Disagreements over finances, infidelity, or other marital stressors can trigger extreme anger and frustration which may unfortunately find an outlet in a physical confrontation. People who would not ordinarily react violently to a situation may do so when the situation spirals out of control. In other cases, a desire for vengeance may cause a person to make a false accusation against the object of his or her anger.

Assault Legal Defense Strategies

Domestic violence charges should not be taken lightly. An experienced assault lawyer can help bring your case to its optimal resolution, whether that means negotiating a reduced charge or sentencing options to keep you out of jail or whether it means aggressively pursuing the dismissal of unjust charges. For a free, confidential analysis of your case by an Oklahoma domestic abuse lawyer, submit our online case review form.

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