Broken Arrow officer charged with animal cruelty in dog encounter
By John Dobberstein, Editor
The Broken Arrow Police Department said Friday that officer William Roy Golden has been criminally charged in connection with an encounter with a neighbor’s dog last month which saw the animal pepper sprayed and tased by the officer.
Court records show Golden was charged today by the Wagoner County District Attorney Jack Thorp with one count of animal cruelty, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of “acts resulting in gross injury/outraging public decency.”
A bench warrant on the charges was issued with a bond of $10,000 assigned to it, according to state court records.
The charges come after the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office’s criminal investigation into the officer’s actions with a dog outside city limits.
According to court filings, the animal cruelty charge stems from Golden injuring the 50-pound English bulldog belonging to Arianna Ruiz by tasing it 8 times, spraying him with pepper spray and striking him on the head, causing injury.
The “outraging public decency” charge is in connection with Golden allegedly “disturbing the public peace by unholstering a firearm and threatening to shoot” the bulldog.
A statement from BAPD said the allegations are “serious” and the department is “committed to fully cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office.”
BAPD’s Office of Professional Standards’ internal investigation has been ongoing, but at the request of the Wagoner County prosecutors, “we are delaying the conclusion of our internal investigation pending the outcome of the criminal case,” BAPD said.
Golden remains on administrative leave, in accordance with department policy and the collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, BAPD said.
In a further statement, the department said it, “shares the community’s concern and appreciate your understanding that due process is necessary and takes time to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation.
“Ultimately, the internal investigation will conclude and determine if the actions taken are aligned with our core values of courage, integrity, professionalism, accountability, and compassion.”
The findings of the internal investigation will be forwarded to the Broken Arrow Police Chief Brandon Berryhill and Broken Arrow City Manager Michael Spurgeon for review.
Residents in a neighborhood in Broken Arrow started complaining late last month about the case after a video surfaced of Golden pulling a bottle of pepper spray from his duty belt and spraying a loose dog that had earlier jumped into his police vehicle.
Although police officers can sometimes face hostile dogs in their duties, neighbors insisted the dog was not acting aggressively and was, in fact, running away from Golden as he pursued the animal. In another video of the incident, a neighbor walked up to help the officer secure the dog from the vehicle but was unsuccessful.
An attorney who was recently representing Golden, Scott Wood, could not be reached for comment Friday. He told KJRH earlier this month that he would argue that Golden's use of force was reasonable in this situation, and the video clips shown on social media "lacked crucial context."