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Back in June, the Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued an Advisory Memorandum on police practices in the state. The Committee issued the memorandum after a series of public hearings and with testimony provided by researchers, law enforcement officials, community advocates, and government officials.
Oklahoma continues to have one of the top three highest incarceration rates of any state in the U.S. and has the highest rate of police use of force incidents, according to the memorandum. In 2018, the Human Rights Watch did an in-depth investigation of policing and racial inequality in Tulsa; they found that Black residents are three times more likely to be arrested than White residents. The disparities persist with youth as well. Tulsa Police Department arrests Black youths at three times the rate of their White counterparts.
Tulsa police among the deadliest in the nation
According to Police Scorecard, Tulsa ranks #7 in the nation for police shooting rates per 10,000 arrests. On average, for every 10,000 arrests there are seven shootings by Tulsa police. Columbus, Ohio ranks #1 with 14 police shootings for every 10,000 arrests.
The Tulsa Police Department came under public scrutiny in June 2020 for racial discrimination following the public remarks of one of its officers, Major Travis Yates, on a radio show. Yates stated that police officers were “shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed.”
The Tulsa Police Department announced that it would be investigating Yates following the remarks and both the mayor of Tulsa and a Black officers’ coalition publicly denounced his comments. The same week, the Tulsa Police Department was also investigating the stop and arrest of two Black teenagers who were accused of jaywalking. Body camera footage showed one of the teens being forced to the ground and kicked by officers.
Tulsa Police Department has since partnered with CNA, a nationally accredited 21st Century policing firm, to evaluate and make recommendations on the TPD’s formal and informal community policing efforts. CNA released a community survey to Tulsa community members to complete on their perceptions and outlooks on the Tulsa Police Department.
To take the survey, click here.