According to a local attorney representing him, Pawhuska City Manager Paul McAlexander’s misdemeanor case will be handled by Rogers County Special District Judge Terrell S. Crossen.
Online district court records show that all local judges have recused themselves from the case. McAlexander will be represented by attorney Bransford H. Shoemake, who told the newspaper that proceedings will take place in Pawhuska.
A warrant for McAlexander’s arrest was issued Monday afternoon in Osage County District Court on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a public officer.
Presiding District Judge J. Dwayne Steidley of Claremore handled the initial proceedings. Shoemake could not offer any additional comment on the charges, as he had yet to meet with McAlexander. Shoemake said he plans to meet with McAlexander in the coming days.
McAlexander’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Pawhuska City Council members voted in late July to reprimand McAlexander for the actions during the July 3 incident. He was also ordered to serve a two-week suspension. Since concluding his suspension, the city manager has been on a vacation — which is scheduled to conclude this week, according to a local official who asked to not be identified.
Additionally, the Pawhuska City Council had an executive session meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening to address “the employment, hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of any individual salaried public officer.” However, according to City Clerk Barbara Smith, the meeting was canceled because of a wording issue on the agenda.
Smith told the newspaper that the meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m., Monday. According to the new agenda, the Pawhuska City Council will meet in executive session to discuss the employment of the city manager (McAlexander).
McAlexander turned himself in to authorities late Tuesday evening after a warrant for his arrest was issued Monday.
According to Osage County Undersheriff LouAnn Brown, McAlexander was booked into jail Tuesday night at 9:41 p.m. and bonded out 15 minutes later.
The charge stems from a July 3 incident in which he allegedly discouraged police officers from arresting Pawhuska city attorney Jesse Worten III, who was involved in a one-vehicle accident and reportedly told police he was drunk.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in district court, the charge comes after an investigation into the incident conducted by Special Agent Marty Wilson with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown told the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise that their office was asked to investigate the matter by Osage County District Attorney Rex Duncan and the report was submitted to his office on Monday.
Reportedly, Worton told officers he was drunk during the incident. Following a chaotic scene in which officers attempted to contact Police Chief Scott Laird to seek guidance on how to handle the situation, McAlexander allegedly instructed officers to not charge Worten with driving under the influence. Laird was on vacation at the time and, reportedly, was not available to immediately return the phone calls by the officers.
According to a police video that was released to the Examiner-Enterprise, McAlexander told officers to hold Worten at the police station until either Worten “sobered up” or his wife arrived to pick him up. The video shows that officers complied with McAlexander’s instruction and transported Worten to the city jail. Because of the confusion, no alcohol test was given to Worten, resulting in the State not being able to file a district court charge of driving under the influence. Instead, Worten was given a municipal citation for DUI later, on July 3.
The affidavit states that Wilson interviewed Laird and other officers after the incident. The officers reportedly told Wilson that it was not standard procedure to issue a municipal citation for DUI. The standard procedure was to arrest the subject, book them into the Osage County Jail and file district court charges. The affidavit alleges that the normal procedure was not followed because of McAlexander’s obstruction.