An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was caught on video (below) hitting an unidentified man who was having a medical episode on Aug. 18.
"He just looked like he was unconscious," an anonymous witness, who filmed the video, told KOKH.
The witness said that he and his coworkers saw the man's car swerve off the road and get stuck in a ditch.
The witnesses went to check on the driver and then called for help.
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"This guy, half his body was laying on the passenger side, he was sweating," the witness recalled.
Two Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers soon arrived, and appeared to be enraged because the man did not put his car in park.
The troopers smashed two of the car windows, and one trooper hit the man at least twice with a nightstick, notes KOKH.
The troopers roughly pulled the man out of the car, tossed him on the ground and handcuffed him.
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"At that point I [thought] they took it too far," the witness said. "I don't believe there was a reason to hit him."
"As you can see in the video, he is passively resisting," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons told the news station.
"With his vehicle in drive the way it is, and this driver being non-compliant, they had to look out for themselves as well as his safety," Timmons added.
It's not clear how hitting the man (who was in physical duress, according to the witness) enhanced his safety.
Timmons said the troopers realized the man was not drunk but was having a medical episode, so they immediately called for emergency response.
However, the details are not known because there was no report written; the troopers did not cite the man who was, in Timmons' words, "passively resisting" and "non-compliant."
While Timmons said the troopers had to "look out for themselves as well as his safety," Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb of Oklahoma wrote an op-ed Aug. 28 in The Oklahoman that asserted the safety of citizens was the "paramount priority" in the state:
The safety and protection of Oklahoma's citizenry is of paramount priority and should always be a core function of government. No state entity represents the vital function of government like the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and specifically, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. When providing round-the-clock public safety, OHP troopers are present day in and day out, at tremendous sacrifice, in all corners of Oklahoma.