Okla. Hairdresser Accuses Police of Hate Language

July 30, 2007

An Oklahoma hairdresser alleges he was taunted by Elk City police officers with hateful language after he was arrested and seeks $250,000 in damage claims against the city and Beckham County.

Dustin Allen of Elk City, Okla. alleges police officers repeatedly referred to him as a “faggot” and subjected him to other hateful language and painful treatment while being placed under arrest on July 4, according to filed claims against Elk City and county officials.

“These are folks that the taxpayers pay to serve and protect,” Allen’s attorney, Raymond A. Vincent of Oklahoma City said. “Rather than trying to prevent hate-type language and conduct, they condone it and they do it themselves.”

Maj. Mark Cook of the Elk City Police Department said the agency had no comment on the allegations. Mayor Teresa Mullican did not return a telephone call to her home from The Associated Press.

Officials said the claim against the county was turned over by county commissioners office to District Attorney Dennis Smith, who was not available for comment.

Vincent said Allen was arrested on a warrant that should never have been issued involving a civil lawsuit concerning lease payments for the former location of Allen’s hairdressing business.

According to the claims, the most “appalling” conduct was the Elk City police officers calling Allen a “faggot” on several occasions during the arrest procedure.

Officers also referred to him as “Miss Allen” and required him to remove the drawstring from his pants before he was placed in a cell, explaining: “We would hate for the little faggot to hang himself,” one claim states.

“The treatment that he received by the Elk City police officers was apparently the result of their perception of his life style,” the claim states.

Allen alleges false arrest and marks on his wrist from when officers bound his handcuffs too tightly. He also claims to have suffered anxiety and emotional trauma due to the event.

“He wouldn’t have probably been so hurt by it were it not for the way the Elk City Police Department treated him,” Vincent said.

The city and county have 90 days to accept or deny the claim, Vincent said. If denied, Allen has the option of filing lawsuits, he said.

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