Booking video released in Cherokee County Jail lawsuit

Posted: 12/14/2011

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Booking video was recently released after an altercation involving a handcuffed man and several Cherokee County jailers.

Daniel Bosh is suing the Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority as well as two jail employees after he says he was assaulted while handcuffed inside the jail. Bosh is suing for a little more than $600,000, claiming lost income, pain and suffering and a violation of civil rights.

Last week, a hearing was held for both sides to present what they consider to be the facts of the case. “The video speaks for itself,” says Mitchell Garrett, Bosh’s attorney. “I think your viewers can make up their own mind.”

According to court documents, Bosh was in jail for failing to pay a traffic ticket. He was handcuffed behind his back, standing in front of the booking desk occupied by Officer Gordon Chronister.

Bosh says he told Chronister his handcuffs were too tight, and when Chronister replied, he said, “Shut the f*** up.”

When Bosh complained again, he says Chronister “marched around the booking desk with his outstretched finger aggressively pointing at Bosh,” according to the affidavit.

Chronister then “deliberately and forcefully” slammed Bosh’s head into the booking desk “without warning or reason.”

Chronister then placed Bosh in a headlock before falling backward to force Bosh’s head into the floor.

Bosh says other jail employees then joined in on the attack, including Assistant Jail Administrator T.J. Girdner.

Bosh’s attorneys say he was not actively resisting arrest and with his hands cuffed behind his back he posed no threat to anyone.

Bosh’s attorneys say nothing in the booking video supports Chronister’s claim that he thought Bosh would spit on him, and Chronister’s subsequent actions were unjustified.

Bosh says he was refused medical treatment for some time after the incident, and when he was seen by medical professions in Tahlequah he was transported to Tulsa where an orthopedic surgeon diagnosed Bosh with a fracture to his spinal column.

“I can’t play with my children, my wife has to help me put my shoes on, my pants on,” Daniel Bosh tells 2News. “I can’t work. I can’t go places, and when I do it’s for a short period of time.”

In response to Bosh’s claims, Chronister says Bosh was argumentative and shouting profanities while being booked into the jail. Chronister says when he instructed Bosh to calm down Bosh spit on him.

Chronister says he reacted and pushed Bosh away. When Bosh continued to resist and struggle, the two fell to the ground.

Chronister says other officers assisted in restraining Bosh, who was then walked to a separate room to change into a jail jumpsuit. When he continued to make threats and refused to change, Bosh was pepper sprayed.

Chronister says Bosh kicked the door of his jail cell, banged his head on the glass window of the cell and shouted profanities. He was then placed in a restraint chair.

Both Chronister and Girdner deny that they intentionally beat Bosh and that the attack ever occurred.

In a letter, the Cherokee County Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp cited claims Bosh “prepared to spit” as a reason not to file criminal charges against the jailers, and also cites five prior felony offenses involving “dishonesty” against Bosh. Thorp tells 2News the prior offenses damaged Bosh’s credibility.

Attorneys for the Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority did not return our repeated phone calls.

Watch the video above to see the incident in question.

Read the full affidavit here

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