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Over One Hundred Community Leaders and Organizations Sign Open Letter Calling on City Officials to Strengthen Public Hearings on Racial Disparities in Tulsa Policing Practices
TULSA, Okla. — The Demanding a JUSTulsa campaign has delivered a letter signed by dozens of community leaders and organizations to the Tulsa City Council and Mayor G.T. Bynum.
The letter, which acknowledges the work done by the city council in their unanimous vote last month to hold the public hearings, calls on councilors to meet the community’s expectations for how the hearings should be conducted. The letter received over 100 signatories within the first 12 hours.
These expectations include ensuring adequate time and space for community members to attend public hearings and give public comment in the designated separate meeting beforehand. They also seek to ensure that the community has a voice in recommending experts and selecting community representatives to serve on the panel at each of the public hearings.
The letter states, “Our priorities are ensuring full community participation, transparency, and a robust examination of the policies, practices, and culture resulting in racial disparities in policing practices, including arrests and use of force.”
Community members are also calling on the council to host a fifth meeting to specifically discuss and audit the 77 recommendations from the Community Policing Commission, in order to determine whether and how these recommendations decrease racial disparities in policing.
“These special meetings are a long-awaited and crucial tool allowing our municipal leaders to get to the root of the disparities that the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity found in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report,” said Dr. Robert Turner. “These revisions to the format and structure of the meetings will ensure maximum democratic participation and stronger outcomes, driving our community closer to our common goal: safe neighborhoods for all Tulsans.”