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By: Nate Morris, senior editor
Last Fall, District One Tulsa City Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper was denied the opportunity to attend a conference on community policing after the City Attorney’s Office, lead by David O’Meilia, warned fellow councilors that her attendance would be a conflict of interest.
Hall-Harper, who is married to a sergeant within the Tulsa Police Department, wanted to attend the NACOLE conference to bring critical information back to the city to help improve community policing efforts. After being advised by City Attorney’s Office to vote against using city dollars to fund the trip, Councilor Hall-Harpers request was denied in a 1-7 vote.
More than six months later, as the city is preparing to press forward with both the creation of the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) to expand police oversight and the start of special meetings into racial disparities in policing data, The Black Wall Street Times has learned that efforts are reportedly underway again to impede Councilor Hall-Harper’s participation.
A source close to the situation tells the Times that the City Attorney is counseling newer city councilors against approving funding for Hall-Harper to join the council on a future city-funded trip to Denver regarding the OIM.
That same source also said that these councilors were being advised to exclude Hall-Harper from the very special meetings on policing she worked diligently for a year to help create, again citing her marriage as a potential conflict of interest.
When asked about the claims, Councilwoman Hall-Harper confirmed, writing in a statement to the Times:
“I was notified by the Council Administrator on Tuesday that the City Attorney is scheduling meetings with the other City Councilors to advise them against my:
1. Attending a trip on the Council Budget to Denver, Colorado to learn more about the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM)
2. Participating in the upcoming City Council Special Meetings concerning the Equality Indicators on Justice.”
The first in a series of public meetings on issues regarding policing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 19th. There is no word on when a vote or decision to potentially exclude the District 1 Councilwoman would take place.
The Black Wall Street Times reached out to the City Attorney’s Office on Friday and again on Wednesday. We have not yet received a response, but will update if and when we do.