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By Khalil Hakim, opinion writer  

Tulsa City Council Chair Vanessa-Hall Harper has called out, challenged, offended and in some instances, defeated White Supremacy in Tulsa, OK. 

She has proven over time that she is unafraid, unabashed and unapologetic in her actions. She fosters a truth in her powerful commentary concerning the obvious racism that is prevalent in the home of Black Wall Street.

Her husband, Marcus Harper, is a Lieutenant in the Tulsa Police Department. He’s faithfully served the city of Tulsa for 25 years. 

Most importantly, they continually support each other as they seek to make North Tulsa a better place for its residences. 

This fact infuriates White Supremacy! 

Because in the 1920s, Tulsa, OK, was consumed by it. The Klan ran the city. This is a historical fact, not a theory. 

One of White Supremacy’s functions is to tear down anything or anyone Black that challenges its system’s institutions. And that’s exactly what Black Wall Street and its leaders did by standing in defiance to Jim Crow. 

And its leaders paid the ultimate price for such boldness when White leaders and citizens burned this prosperous Black community down, killing 300 of its people in 1921 during the Tulsa Race Massacre. 

Nearly 100 years later, in September 2016, former Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby murdered an unarmed Terrance Crutcher, a Black man and descendant of 1921 massacre survivors. Shelby shot Crutcher while his hands were up. She was later acquitted of this heinous act in May 2017. Her behavior obviously was not abhorrent enough for the neighboring Rogers County Sheriff Department to hire her. 

The Crutcher family never received justice for the unjust loss of their family member. 

This breach of justice prompted Councilor Vanessa to speak truth to power by saying:

“I believe she [Betty Shelby] screwed up, made a horrible mistake that took the life of Terrence. And rather than acknowledging and paying for the mistake, she and some of her fellow officers circled the wagons in support of her and started vilifying the victim. And that is what makes her and everyone that supported her a crooked ass cop that doesn’t deserve to wear a badge, [I] feel sorry for the citizens of Rogers County. The system and culture of law enforcement in Tulsa is what is corrupt, and she should not be a police officer. But corruption allows this kind of mess to take place.”

Tulsa Dist. 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper
Tulsa Dist. 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper

This truthful public commentary obviously was enough to ruffle the feathers of Jared Lindsey, then chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 93 and Scott Walton, the Rogers County Sheriff. Their infantile responses only lend credence to the quote, “A hit dog gonna holla!”

They haven’t forgotten about Mrs. Hall-Harper calling them out because her husband, Lieutenant Harper, has been charged with helping conceal evidence in a shooting. 

This facade of so-called justice is historically consistent with behaviors demonstrated in Tulsa, OK and its police department. And although this incident prompted a federal investigation, there were no charges filed by the federal government due to no evidence of any wrongdoing. 

After seven months, the Tulsa Police Department doubled back on the case that for all intent and purposes, was closed. 

In a public display of retaliation against Vanessa Hall Harper’s previous criticisms of (TPD), the Tulsa DA recused himself, and a special prosecutor from ‘Rogers County’ was assigned to prosecute Lieutenant Harper’s case. 

It was a blatant display of retaliatory justice based on lack of evidence and an obvious ax to target Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper. Her actions caused others to scrutinize the corruption and violence in TPD and the Rogers County Sheriff’s department.

Let us not forget that when Betty Shelby was acquitted of murdering Terrance Crutcher, the federal government chose not to press charges against Betty Shelby for violation of Terrance Crutcher’s civil rights; yet, they’ve chosen to target Lieutenant Harper. 

TPD and the Tulsa District Attorney were silent because the decision supported the “Blue Lives Matter” mantra, a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It is quite erroneous when another officer is investigated by the federal government and they find no evidence and no reason to press charges; then suddenly, TPD is all up in arms and targeting the Harpers. 

This prompted an assignment of a special prosecutor to the case. 

I guess once you peel back the Blue your melanin still becomes a target for White Supremacy!

Actually, that is not true in all cases because the Chief of the Tulsa Police Department is Wendell Franklin, a Black man – in color only -, and he is complicit in this mockery of justice. 

Who knew that when Stokely Carmichael stated that “If a White man wants to lynch me…” he had no idea that the rope would be supplied by another black man.”

Tulsa, Oklahoma, y’all have a problem!

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...

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