Pawhuska Residents Voice Outrage After Alleged Special Treatment for City Official
Pawhuska residents continue to voice outrage over what many claim was special treatment for a city official. The city attorney is on leave, following a DUI stop when he was taken home, instead of being arrested. It was all caught on camera and at Monday's city council meeting, many citizens spoke up.
"He can't walk," said a Pawhuska Police officer in the video, released by the police department. "Where's he at?," said another. "He's in the passenger seat of my car. We had to spill him over in there. But he is hammered. I mean, beyond hammered." That is what officers had to say about city attorney Jess Worten, earlier this month.
It all happened after police were called to investigate a car accident, only to find Worten heavily intoxicated and his own wrecked vehicle.
"Do I write him a ticket? What do I do?," said one officer in the video. "No. Not right now. We'll take care of it, Monday," another responded. That set off a firestorm in the tight-knit town, with accusations of special treatment hurled at city leaders during Monday's council meeting.
"They should've took him to jail, put him in the drunk tank, he should've been charged with DUI just like me or you. If it'd been me, they would've took me to jail," said Betty Harris, a Pawhuska native, speaking to the council.
"If you did something wrong, be an adult about it. Do what you're supposed to do," another resident said.
The mayor and city council members had little to say in response, giving citizens ample time to voice their feelings on the matter.
Some defended Worten, but pointed the finger squarely at Pawhuska Police, claiming preferential treatment is nothing new here. One woman told city leaders about an experience where she claims, she was let out of a speeding ticket due to her family's affluence. "When the officer came up to the window, he said, 'Oh, you have a new vehicle. I didn't realize it was you. I'm sorry. I hope I didn't disturb your evening.'"
Regardless of the opinions, the controversy continues as the city decides what steps to take next.
Jess Worten's wife, Vice Mayor Cathy Worten, was absent from Monday's meeting.
The city attorney is due in municipal court next Wednesday.