Bethel police officer arrested for domestic violence, takes personal leave

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BETHEL, Alaska (KTUU) - A police officer in Bethel was arrested by a fellow officer last Thursday, after charging documents say he had repeatedly punched his girlfriend.

Bethel Police Department officer Martin Oulton, 24, was charged with assault, categorized in court documents as a "domestic violence offense" following an incident on Jan. 4.

Officers arrived at a home in the Kasayuli subdivision in Bethel and made contact with Martin Oulton and his girlfriend. His girlfriend called police at around 1:30 a.m., saying she had been assaulted.

Oulton's girlfriend said she had confronted Oulton over text messages he was receiving, and then he "got mad [...] grabbed her by the arm and started punching her in the shoulders."

He was punching her in the shoulders, the woman alleged to BPD, because "he knows he cannot punch her in the face."

According to the police affidavit, the responding officer observed red markings where she said she had been hit.

Martin, however, said that the altercation was purely verbal, and never got physical.

Police said in the document that Oulton's girlfriend said he had been drinking vodka, and that she had been drinking beer.

Acting Police Chief Burke Waldron told KTUU that Oulton is now on personal leave for the next week. Due to officer schedules involving a week on, week off rotation, he will also be out the following week.

"There is an internal review process, which can take days or weeks depending on how complicated the case is," Waldron said. "We're trying to make the decisions as soon as we can."

Waldron said it had been years since a BPD officer was involved in a case like this, and the most significant issue during his six months as chief.

Oulton has been an officer with BPD since July of last year.