Former Luther Police Officer Anthony Butler sat alone in an Oklahoma County Courtroom Wednesday until his case came up on the docket for his preliminary hearing on charges associated with an incident in August 2018 that involved allegations of domestic abuse and assaulting a fellow police officer.
Butler, 42, was bound over for trial on the charge “assault and battery against a police officer” and a trial date is set in July. Luther Police Sergeant Tony Walker was the only witness called by the state.
The questioning of Sgt. Walker involved the events of August 5, 2018, at Butler’s home in Luther. Walker testified that he received text messages from Butler’s girlfriend that evening that Butler was intoxicated and driving around. Later, Walker said, she sent a text that said HELP and he went to the home. Walker testified under oath that when he arrived, her child met him in the yard, clung to his leg and told him that Butler was on top of her mom in the master bedroom.
Walker said when he entered the master bedroom, another child was in the room screaming, and Butler had his hands around his girlfriend’s neck and she appeared distressed. He said Butler then tussled with Walker, grabbed his vest, scratched him around his neck and slammed him into the wall. The state presented pictures of the wounds as evidence.
Walker testified he texted the police chief with a “911” message, and alerted dispatch using vague code words as he tried to calm Butler down. The pair eventually ended up in the front yard and Walker said Butler took a fighting stance and said he was going to “kick his ass,” and made threats against him, the police chief and the deputy chief as the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office arrived. He said the investigation was turned over to OCSO because the incident involved a Luther officer.
Walker said Butler told the deputy, “Yes, I did everything.”
Whether Sgt. Walker went to the home as a “friend” or as an officer was part of the cross-examination by defense attorney Paul Faulk as the charge against Butler is “assault of a police officer.” But Faulk also tried other lines of questioning asking Walker whether he was conspiring with other members of the police department to remove Butler from his job. Faulk also tried to question Walker on his closeness with the chief and whether Walker wanted Butler’s job. Many of Faulk’s questions were met with “objections” from the state, which were sustained by Special District Judge Lisa Hammond on the basis of hearsay or from questions that were already “asked and answered” or not relevant.
Because Walker didn’t alert dispatch when he went to Butler’s home on the call, Faulk asked Walker if it was true that Walker didn’t follow police procedures, and Walker said yes. Previously Assistant District Attorney Danielle Connolly, through questioning, had established that Walker was on duty, in uniform and was driving a marked Luther police vehicle when he arrived at Butler’s home. She also asked whether it was true that Walker and Butler were friends, and whether they knew each other socially. Walker said yes and that he knew Butler’s girlfriend was pregnant.
During the hearing, Butler sat at the defense table and wrote on a legal pad and conferred with Faulk.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Hammond made no pause when she ruled the state’s burden to present evidence on the case was met and that Butler would be bound over for trial with Judge Kendra Coleman. She said Butler could remain free on bond. There was no word whether Butler or the state will consider a plea agreement to avoid a trial.
Conviction on a felony charge of “assault and battery of a police officer” could lead to a prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000.
Outside of the courtroom, attorneys associated with the case expressed frustration about the proceeding and said that Butler needs “help not prison.”