2 Bartlesville police officers charged following OSBI investigation

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - The Washington County District Attorney's Office on Thursday filed charges against two Bartlesville police officers placed on leave in September due to allegations of official misconduct.

Following a review of the results of an investigation conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released last month, the district attorney's office on Thursday charged Officers Stacey Charles Neafus and Sonya Jean Worthington with assault and battery.

According District Attorney Kevin Buchanan, the misdemeanor charges stem from an incident alleged to have occurred on Sept. 18 at Jane Phillips Medical Center.

According to court documents filed Thursday at the Washington County courthouse, Neafus and Worthington on that September day "willfully and unlawfully committed assault and battery" on the alleged victim.

Neafus allegedly did so by pushing the alleged victim's upper torso over a metal chair arm "with the weight of the defendant pressing" the man "who was handcuffed behind his back at the time of the defendant's actions, with force and violence."

Worthington allegedly struck the same alleged victim and placed him in a headlock, pulled and twisted his head while he was handcuffed, "with force and violence," said the information sheet.

Both officers were booked at the Washington County jail Thursday afternoon but were released on good faith they would appear in court for their hearings set for Jan. 11.

In a statement issued Thursday, Buchanan said he and his office continue to have the utmost confidence in the Bartlesville Police Department and its officers.

"We believe the circumstances which occurred on September 18 th are out of the ordinary and not in keeping with the department's typical and routine treatment of people in their custody," he said.

He said while his office dislikes filing charges against members of law enforcement, the actions of the two officers left him with no alternative but to file these charges.

"They must be held accountable as any other citizen, regardless of their employment as a police officer," he said.

Bartlesville city officials said in addition to the criminal proceedings for the two officers, city and police administrative offices are conducting a parallel review "concerning violations of policies which govern the conduct of our officers."

According to their statement, any violations of those policies will be dealt with internally. Personnel at the Bartlesville Police Department will continue to cooperate fully in this matter, they said.

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