Sep. 29—A judge issued an interim protective order Wednesday against the police chief a southeastern Oklahoma town's trustees placed on paid leave after he was ruled not a credible witness due to legal history.
A Quinton woman filed a protective order request in July against Lawrence "Larry" Ruiz Jr., claiming he stalked and harassed her. District 18 Special District Judge Mindy Beare issued an emergency protective order in the matter that was extended through Wednesday's hearing following a continuance in the case.
The woman testified in Wednesday's hearing that she and Ruiz were in a relationship for approximately eight months but she ended it after finding out he married another woman during that time.
She said Ruiz sent her messages after she ended the relationship and she did not reply. She said Ruiz then began to drive by her residence and her son's daycare.
The woman said Ruiz would drive by her house "slowly" and would point at her and that she felt threatened by his actions.
She said Ruiz stopped driving by after the emergency protective order was issued.
The woman testified she reported the incidents to the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Department and with Choctaw Nation Tribal Police.
A second witness testified the woman asked her to sit with her one day because the woman felt "nervous" about Ruiz. The witness testified Ruiz did drive by the residence but she did not see anybody make any gestures.
After testimony, Beare said she was not going to treat the case any different than others.
"I'm going to treat this like I do every single one of these cases that comes in here when we have a relationship where the parties no longer want anything to do with each other," Beare said. "I'm going to do a three-month interim order."
Beare told Ruiz that he could not have any contact with the woman while the order is in effect and that any contact would result in possible criminal repercussions.
The judge said as long as there are no issues between both parties in those three months, then both parties can "go their separate ways" with no further action.
"If there is issues, then at that point I will determine whether or not to issue a final order of protection," Beare said.
Court records show the interim protection order is valid through Jan. 5, 2022.
State law requires those with a CLEET certification to report any criminal charges or protection orders that are filed against them.
CLEET General Counsel Preston Draper previously told the News-Capital if a final order of protection is issued against Ruiz, then it could jeopardize his state-required certification to remain a peace officer.
A special meeting of the Quinton Town of Trustees is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday to discuss the employment of Ruiz.
Ruiz was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 12 after a judge ruled Ruiz lacks credibility as a witness due to legal history involving dishonesty.
The judge wrote Ruiz's legal history included multiple dismissed felonies involving dishonesty which included two counts of embezzlement and impersonating an officer.
Eight protective orders were found to have been filed against him in the past accusing him of aggressive physical and verbal behavior with all of them later dismissed by the alleged victims.
Contact Derrick James at email@example.com