Arrest Warrant Issued for Oklahoma City Police Officer

The Daily Oklahoman is reporting that an arrest warrant has issued for one of its police officers:

An arrest warrant has been issued for an Oklahoma City police officer accused of punching a man at a bar while off duty. . . Police Capt. Dexter Nelson confirmed Friday that Officer Kris Hunter has been charged in the case and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The report provides some additional details about the incident:

The victim, Jeremy Popisil, told police Hunter and two of his friends sat down next to him Nov. 11 at the bar at Sipango Lounge, 4301 N Western Ave. . . . The conversation became confrontational after Popisil recognized Hunter as the man he believed had an affair with his wife several months ago. Popisil and his wife are in the midst of a divorce, he said. . . . Popisil tried to get Hunter to admit to the affair and called him a name. He said Hunter then punched him in the face several times before running out of the bar.

There is no indication from the report whether the two people with Hunter were also members of the Oklahoma City police department, or whether statements from those individuals played any role in the decision to issue the warrant.  Also left unaddressed is the role played by bystanders and the employees of the bar.

Under prevailing civil rights law, police officers may be considered state actors even when off-duty, so long as their conduct was cloaked with the authority of the state, more commonly known as conduct committed under color of state law.  A common example being an off-duty officer providing private security services while in uniform.

It is unclear from the report if Officer Hunter exercised any authority that could fairly be considered attributable to the state. It would also be helpful to know if Hunter has a history of excessive force or behavioral issues while on duty.

More coverage here:  Arrest warrant issued for Oklahoma City police officer