A Clarksville, Indiana, firefighter who is also a police officer has been suspended after he allegedly pepper-sprayed his estranged wife, her baby and her boyfriend during a domestic dispute.
The suspension follows an incident on June 23 when an argument broke out between Charles Edelen, 34, and his estranged wife, Samantha, who had a child with another man while the couple were separated, The Free Thought Project reported (video below).
The couple were attempting to reconcile, but the baby’s father, Darius Henderson, came to the house.
Edelen told police that he and his wife decided to invite Henderson over for some drinks to talk about “the issue on hand regarding the child,” WLKY reported.
According to court documents, when Samantha refused to put on pants when Henderson showed up, Edelen became angry and allegedly pepper-sprayed his wife to force her to obey orders.
Edelen then told Henderson to leave and when he refused, he sprayed Henderson while he was holding his baby girl.
The child was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital, where she was treated for burns to her face, swollen eyes, and breathing problems.
Edelen has been charged with three counts of battery, but he has pleaded not guilty.
He has been suspended from the Clarksville Fire Department without pay and has resigned from his reserve position with police, according to WDRB.
Attorney Larry Wilder defended Edelen’s actions by saying that the use of pepper spray was the former officer’s best option after his wife refused to put on pants.
“Yes, in fact, pepper spray was used — which is the least physically intrusive way to deal with someone who you can’t get to do something,” Wilder said. “It’s preferred by police. It’s preferred over guns, obviously, and that was his choice to try to remove someone from his home, with the least intrusive way to do that when they refused.”
Edelen is currently out of jail after posting bond.