An Oklahoma police department is in the midst of chaos due to a scandal surrounding its chief.
According to Oklahoma’s KFOR, Seminole, Oklahoma’s Police Chief David Hanson has been accused of harassment and homophobic slurs. As for the accusers, they take the form of both citizens and officers under Hanson’s guidance.
Two of the most vocal accusers were gay couple Todd and Justin Holliday. Todd runs a local office supply business, which works with the police department regularly. Unfortunately, that professional relationship didn’t stop Hanson from allegedly harassing the Hollidays.
“The police chief with the Seminole police department calls me names,” Todd Holliday said. “Very derogatory, very slanderous names that no one should ever call anyone.”
Todd has saved text messages from Hanson, which include profanities from the Police Chief. The Chief also referred to himself as the gay couple’s “daddy.”
“It’s been awful,” Holliday said.
Again, the Hollidays weren’t the only victims. Lt. Michael Burnett also accused the chief of “daily abuse.”
“It’s gotten to the point where none of us want to come to work,” he confessed. Burnett then elaborated that Hanson regularly made inappropriate comments to police department employees.
“We get called fat – we’re too fat, ‘you’re too fat’ to do this,” he said. “I’ve seen him do that to our secretary as well, the female secretary that works there. I’ve seen him throw papers at her and just treat her terrible.”
Even worse, some of the harassment became physical.
“And insert his finger into the crack of the back of your pants pretty forcefully. It happened on numerous occasions,” Burnett explained.
An Influx Of Statements
In response to these accusations, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement through interim legal director Michael Redman.
“The comments and conduct attributed to Seminole Police Chief David Hanson, if true, are completely unacceptable. Law enforcement personnel have a unique position of trust and authority and the Chief of Police is the ultimate symbol of that authority. Along with that authority comes a responsibility to all of the city’s citizens. It is unacceptable for a public official – especially a public official in a position of highest authority – to demean, disparage, and ridicule the persons whom he is obligated to protect and to serve.”
Redman then added, “A city’s culture starts at the top and the City of Seminole has committed to an independent and thorough investigation of these allegations. We commend them for that action.”
Eventually, David Hanson himself released a statement about the allegations. In his statement, Hanson denied the claims.
“These allegations are completely shocking to me. Justin and Todd Holliday have been close friends of my family. They have been guests in our home, we’ve been to dinner together with our spouses, and socialized on many other occasions. They both know I am not homophobic. We exchanged cordial, off-color texts. They texted wild gay comments and made fun of me being Jewish. I responded with off-color jokes. Not one time did I ever detect that any remark made was unwelcome or offensive. There were certainly no feelings of hostility. I didn’t find the anti-Semitic remarks offensive and took them in jest. I welcome the opportunity to provide our text conversations to the public when the time is appropriate so they can judge for themselves. If I would have known the Holliday’s felt this way I would have corrected the issue immediately, rather than them going to the press and causing embarrassment to my family and the community. If I have offended them or the LBGTQ community in any way, I most sincerely apologize. This is one of those life-learning lessons that come at great cost and I have certainly been humbled by this experience.”
The City of Seminole then entered the conversation with the plans to hold a special city council meeting.
As city officials shared in an announcement:
“We are aware of complaints against the Police Chief by members of the Fraternal Order of Police and a member of the public. We consider all complaints of this nature very serious. At our request, there will be an outside investigation into the allegations. This is a personnel situation, which requires a high level of confidentiality. I can assure the public that all concerns will be adequately addressed.”