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By Deon Osborne, Senior Writer
White allies are at a sit-in at DA Prater’s office. They along with the Black activists are demanding that Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater resign from his post, citing “excessive charges” against Black Lives Matter protesters.
DA Prater, a registered Democrat, overreached his position when he used charges of terrorism as retaliation against OKC protesters who were expressing their First Amendment rights in support of Minnesota police brutality martyr George Floyd on May 30, according to a press release from the anonymous group.
In the weeks following the death of Black Minnesota resident George Floyd, after police officers pinned him down and rested a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, communities across Oklahoma have joined protests in support of the national Movement for Black Lives.
Two years after passing moderate criminal justice reform measures, 57 percent of all Oklahomans agree that racial discrimination is a big problem, and 84 percent agree it’s at least a small problem, according to a poll from Amber Integrated.
The poll adds that a majority of Oklahomans believe that anger over George Floyd’s killing, and even the burning of the Minneapolis police station, is at least partially justified.
The findings go across ethnicities, indicating widespread support for at least some level of change in how the system of policing operates. Evidence of support accumulated in the form of thousands of dollars of donations to Black Lives Matter OKC, fueling the funds needed to release several protesters.
“Instead of protecting fellow Oklahomans from tear gas and rubber bullets or addressing the harm and violence police commit against our communities with impunity, Prater chose to charge those demonstrating their First Amendment Constitutional rights with terrorism,” the press release states.
“These charges carry a $1 million bond, meaning innocent Oklahomans are left to suffer in Oklahoma County jail, which is routinely ranked as one of the worst jails in the nation.”
The jail’s unsanitary conditions, poor medical care and numerous inmate deaths have become infamous. The activists say DA Prater is putting profit over people and hovering a threat of jail time over protesters who haven’t even turned 18, yet.
Activists cheered when Black Lives Matter OKC secured the release of some protesters,despite DA Prater raising bail for at least one political prisoner from $30,000 to $400,000. Now, the anonymous affiliation of activists are asking Oklahomans to stand in solidarity against DA Prater by supporting five goals:
1. Drop all charges against OKC demonstrators.
Protesters accused of destroying police property and inciting a riot are facing charges that carry the possibility of life in prison.
2. End qualified immunity.
This law erases a person’s constitutional rights, shielding police officers from lawsuits for their brutality unless the victim can show the act the officer committed had been proven wrong in a previous case where it was committed in exactly the same way.
3. Re-open Isaiah Lewis’ case.
Isaiah Lewis was a Black unarmed, naked teenager shot dead in the back by Edmond police while he was experiencing a mental illness.
4. End cash bail.
5. DA Prater’s resign.
“Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater is banking on the media to flip the narrative of violence into his favor,” the press release says.
“He is banking on Oklahoma being a flyover state with continual media blackouts around the issues that really matter. We are here to say enough is enough. Our voices will not be silenced. We stand in ardent defense of our Constitutional rights and we ask that you join us in the fight.”
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater may be reached at (405) 713-1600.