A lawsuit filed by a medical marijuana advocate against Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton after he was forcibly removed from a public forum has been settled.
Charles “Chip” Paul, who sued Walton, declined to talk about the settlement, citing a confidentiality agreement.
The parties reached the agreement during a settlement conference held Friday in Tulsa federal court, records show.
Walton cited the same nondisclosure agreement when reached by phone on Tuesday.
“A court-ordered settlement conference was held on Friday and the county’s insurance company and the plaintiff reached a confidential solution,” Walton said, reading from a prepared statement.
Paul was attending a public forum on State Question 788, which called for legalizing medical marijuana, June 18, 2018, at the Claremore Conference Center when Walton grabbed him around his neck with both hands and forcibly walked him out of the building.
The two had different views of the events leading up to Paul’s removal.
Paul claimed in his lawsuit that he was sitting quietly, talking to his wife privately about what he claimed was inaccurate information being presented at the forum when Walton “got in the plaintiff’s face” and yelled at him to be quiet or get out.
After telling Walton that he would be quiet, Paul claims the sheriff grabbed him by his neck and physically removed him, slamming his head into a door in the process.
Walton, meanwhile, said at the time that a large group of medical marijuana supporters at forum were rowdy and “disruptive to the speakers.”
The forum was sponsored by opponents of State Question 788, according to Paul’s lawsuit.
“I’m not regretful for my actions there,” Walton said at the time. “We were to the point that there was consideration of just pulling the plug on the whole meeting.”
Paul initially filed the lawsuit June 20 in Rogers County District Court. It was later moved to federal court at the request of Rogers County officials.
In his state court petition, Paul claimed unlawful seizure, retaliation for engaging in First Amendment rights and violation of free speech, as well as assault and battery by Walton.
In addition to advocating for passage of SQ 788, Paul is co-founder of Oklahomans For Health, which successfully petitioned to get the question on the 2018 primary ballot.
The state question passed June 26, 2018, receiving 56% of the vote.