Article 20: April 24, 2022
Hog-tied man dies
By Chris Willingham
Eighth in a series
The FBI and OSBI are investigating the March 13 in-custody death of Bobby Barrick, 45, documents the newspaper received Thursday say.
The sheriff’s office is also conducting its own internal investigation, the department’s attorney said.
Until Thursday, the sheriff’s department had yet to acknowledge Barrick’s death or that the incident even occurred, despite eight Open Records Act requests related to the Barrick case by this newspaper, which were all initially denied by the sheriff’s department.
The newspaper began seeking reports of the March 13 incident in Eagletown after it occurred.
The sheriff’s department said the following in a Facebook post about the newspaper’s requests:
“The newspaper has requested reports and documentation that by state and federal law are not open records.
“It is imperative that the sheriff’s office protect the information of individuals and to be careful to not revictimize them for any reason whatsoever and definitely not for a private entities monetary gain,” said sheriff Kevin Clardy.
The newspaper requested the following items in the Barrick case:
- Reports and officer statements of the incident.
- Officer body camera footage and radio logs related to the incident.
- The department’s inventory of TASER equipment.
- The model and serial number of the TASER deputy Matt Kasbaum used on Barrick.
- All officer TASER certifications.
- The department’s use of force policy and procedure and any reviews of use of force from the Barrick incident.
After the sheriff’s department denied the newspaper’s ORA requests for those items, the Gazette contacted the Oklahoma Press Association, which handles press legal matters, such as refused ORA requests.
Those eight ORA refusals were preceded by nearly six months of difficulty by the newspaper in obtaining basic reports and records, despite transparency and cooperation by Clardy in his first term and previous other sheriffs, dating back to the early 1980s.
The Oklahoma Press Association thought the incident could be a precedent-setting case nationally and forwarded the ORA requests, as well as the series of stories into controversies at the sheriff’s department, to the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C.
Lawyers for the RCFP reviewed the newspaper’s stories and ORA requests and believed the paper was legally entitled to the documents being requested under the Open Records Act.
The RCFP is representing this newspaper in any potential lawsuit against the sheriff’s department.
On Thursday, RCFP attorneys for the Gazette received officer statements and radio logs from the Barrick incident from an attorney for the sheriff’s department.
Those reports shed some light on the March 13 incident in Eagletown, which until now the newspaper had to rely on witness statements because of a complete news blackout on the incident by the sheriff’s department.
In their statements, officers Quentin Lee, Matt Kasbaum and Kevin Storey said the following:
On March 13, officers responded to a burglary report at Lori’s Corner Store in Eagletown, with witnesses saying the suspect had broken glass at the store, stopped a semi-truck in the highway and was attempting to get into vehicles.
Officers Lee and Kasbaum were the first on the scene and said they found the suspect, later identified as Barrick, “completely hog-tied” and surrounded by an angry crowd.
“Please help me! Don’t let them kill me!” Lee quoted Barrick as saying to officers.
Kasbaum said upon observing the scene, he made the comment to the crowd, “Well, this is interesting.”
Officers said they cut Barrick’s hog-ties, placed him in handcuffs and put him in the back seat of a patrol unit.
They called EMS because Barrick was bleeding from the head and his hands and feet were purple and blue in color from the hog-ties.
When EMS arrived, Lee opened the door to the patrol unit and he said Barrick began kicking and screaming.
Game Warden Mark Hannah and deputy Kevin Storey arrived by this time and were assisting Lee and Kasbaum.
The officers were attempting to put the struggling Barrick back into the vehicle, but he was actively resisting and kicking, the report said.
Storey offered Lee a Taser and Lee said he Tasered Barrick through his clothes, but it seemed to have no effect.
Kasbaum said he used his body weight and trapped Barrick in the doorjam of the truck in an attempt to get control of him.
During the struggle, Barrick kicked Hannah in the face and another officer, attempting to strike Barrick with an ASP baton, missed and hit Kasbaum in the face with the baton.
Kasbaum said he then delivered three one-second dry TASER stuns to the bare skin of Barrick’s left hip bone.
Barrick fell to the ground and began trying to crawl under the truck, Kasbaum said.
Other officers tried to drag Barrick out as Lee got on the ground beside him, wrapping his legs around Barrick to control him.
Barrick then bit Lee in the left arm, the officer said, and then suddenly went limp and stopped fighting. In each officer’s statement, they said Barrick did not appear to be breathing at that point.
He was placed on an EMS gurney and put in an ambulance as EMTs tried to revive him.
Barrick was transported to Paris Regional Medical Center where he died four days later.
The sheriff’s department lawyer told an RCFP lawyer that Barrick’s death was under investigation by the FBI and
OSBI and cited that as the reason the department would not turn over body camera footage and TASER details of the incident at the present time.
The newspaper still has the option of going to court on items not turned over, arguing that the public interest is best served by making the records public. Among the records refused were the basic policies and procedures from the department handbook as well as the department’s “use of force” policy.