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Report by Nehemiah D. Frank
Tulsa, Okla. — On Friday, Oct. 6, at the 23rd Annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium, Chief Chuck Jordan of the Tulsa Police Department unapologetically and intentionally interjected his personal, political opinions regarding the continuous NFL protest. His statements occurred less than two hours after a powerful and dynamic keynote address delivered by esteemed Harvard University professor Dr. Cornel West.
Chief Jordan’s insensitive and inflammatory remarks were made during a question and answer session at one of the symposium’s 4:05 PM breakout sessions.
The forum, Community Policing: Collaborating for a Safer Tulsa included a handful of panelists: Mayor G.T. Bynum, Deputy Jonathan Brooks, Officer Amley “Popsey” Floyd, Christina Starzl Mendoza of the City of Tulsa, Aliye Shimi of the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry along with Chief Jordan.
Notably, Mayor Bynum wasn’t present during the question and answer session.
Officer Brooks read the question from an index card to a crowded room, reiterating a racially provocative Facebook post released on the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police’s Facebook page early in that week.
“‘Does this build trust?’” Deputy Brooks stated the question on the index card.
Chief Jordan raised his hand with a pointed finger, asking “Can I address that?”
“Um, I will choose my words carefully because of…this union…does represent our police officers. Um, I will tell you, that this, the people that posted this are not representative of the attitude of our police officers. Um, the average lodge meeting has 25 people, maybe, to 30. This was cussed to discussed a great deal when it first came out.”
Chief went on to say the individual that posted the outrageous post received a call from a union representative who reproached with “‘Why did you just talk about the NFL…Why not just talk about the good things the officer did?’”
“And I will tell you again, the union is not representative of our police department.” Chief Jordan reiterated.
Chief Jordan’s tone then shifted to negative rhetoric and what could be perceived as a racist, micro-aggressive outburst, his statements echoing and paralleling the controversial Facebook post, but in real-time and in front of a live audience.
“I will be very, very candid in full disclosure. I’m not happy with the NFL protest. I have more respect for the people walking down the street protesting than I do for the NFL protestors. I’m sorry. It’s just the way that I am,” said Jordan.
His renouncement of the NFL protestors, who are majority African-American, scratched at the wounds of an already fractured community; this happening less than a month after the Terence Crutcher Foundation was launched.
Chief Jordan also mentioned that citizens should be the ones to de-escalate tense situations and that it shouldn’t be the job of a police officer to de-escalate situations.
His statements have further damaged the already fragile community trust between Tulsa’s African-American citizens and the Tulsa Police Department.