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Instead of protecting and serving, Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer, DeAngelo Reyes, used his badge to intimidate and rape. And in response to the allegations, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said he and others on the force want to hold bad actors accountable but boiled the whole thing down to “officers will make mistakes”. 

Here are the details of this “mistake”.

According to the unidentified survivor, she was walking her dog on April 17, 2022 when she was approached by Officer Reyes. Reyes introduced himself as “Eric” and the two engaged in small talk. Sixty seconds into the conversation, “Eric” turned his body camera off and proceeded to comment on the woman’s appearance, asked where she lived and requested her phone number. 

After the encounter, Officer Reyes reportedly used his department computer to find the woman’s address and drove to the hotel where she was staying later that evening.

Arriving in his patrol car and still uniformed, Reyes entered the survivor’s hotel room where she was asked if she was a “working girl”, which she denied.

Tulsa police officer charged with rape

“Eric” then told the woman he’d checked her criminal record and it wouldn’t take much to put someone like her back in prison. Immediately after making that statement, he patted a spot on the bed beside him, motioning for her to come sit next to him.

From there, he began kissing and fondling the woman while saying how taboo and exciting the situation was.

After the rape, the survivor said Officer Reyes flushed the used condom and left to continue his shift.

Make no mistake–this was no mistake. This was a premeditated assault. 

In 2018, CNN reported that police officers had been charged with over 400 rapes throughout a nine year period. None of these were mistakes–it was abuse of authority.

Reyes was no different. He didn’t “mistakenly” comment on the woman’s appearance, “mistakenly” ask for her number, “mistakenly” check her criminal records or “mistakenly” end up at her hotel. He planned all of it.

Criminal police officer highlights distrust among community and police

And when the woman finally felt comfortable enough to come forward weeks later, Reyes denied the attack. But as the investigation moved forward and more evidence was recovered, he changed his story to the sex being consensual and ultimately resigned from his position right before being arrested and charged with first degree rape.

With this pattern and audacity, who knows how many more people this man has used his position of authority to coerce, harass and sexually assault.

Also, this is why there’s a grave mistrust between the public and the police with insensitivity to use of language, upholding the “blue wall” and gaps in disciplinary practices widening the divide. 

We don’t know if Police Chief Franklin maybe misspoke at that moment or if he truly meant to say that officers make mistakes. Well, this “mistake” is the second most common complaint against police officers nationwide, clearly an indication that some officers believe they’re above the law. 

Rape is never a “mistake”, despite what police chief says

Nonetheless, the characterization of rape as a mistake is negligent, excuses the behavior of the perpetrator, sends a signal that these matters may not be taken seriously and discourages other survivors from coming forward. Had the woman in this case succumbed to the fear, coercion and intimidation of Officer Deangelo Reyes, “Eric” would still be patrolling the streets for his next victim.

How are people supposed to feel safe when those charged with protecting and serving are the perpetrators of some of the most disturbing crimes? How can people dismiss cries for defunding the police when the police are getting paid to do whatever they want? 

With a disturbing record of sexual misconduct and assault percolating throughout police precincts around the country, advocacy organizations should be ringing the alarm and these officers should be held accountable for their actions at the highest extent of the law.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

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