Listen to this article here
The Black Wall Street Times

Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Timesdaily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.

GREENWOOD Dist — Days after the North Tulsa community was rocked by two seemingly random shootings at a library and gas station, Tulsa’s District Attorney is accusing the shooter, who is Black, of killing two men, who are white, due to their race. The DA has added hate crime charges.

Carlton Gilford, 61, was initially charged with first degree murder and shooting with intent to kill on April 24 after walking into the Rudisill Library on April 18 and shooting 35-year-old Lundin Hathcock in the back of the head.

He then reportedly walked over to the nearby Quiktrip gas station on Pine and Peoria, firing on 55-year-old James McDaniel in the head. Gilford shot the man again when he fell to the ground and fired at other employees in the gas station.

hate crime carlton gilford kunzweiler
Carlton Gilford, 61. (Tulsa County Jail)

Days later, Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler added a charge of malicious intimidation, Oklahoma’s equivalent of a hate crime charge.

“The information suggests that race played a role in it and I feel like that is something we can prove, and it is something that a judge or jury obviously needs to listen to. So we will present that information along with everything else,” Kunzweiler told KOTV.

The attack in North Tulsa comes just a month before the Greenwood community is set to commemorate the 102-year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, when a city-sanctioned white mob burned, bombed and pillaged the wealthiest Black business district in the nation, dubbed Black Wall Street.

“Race played a role” in Tulsa shooting, DA Kunzweiler says

Gilford didn’t attempt to resist when officers arrived on the scene. He reportedly waited calmly and allegedly confessed to killing the two men.

“SUSPECT CHARGED WITH HATE CRIME,” Tulsa Police Department posted to Facebook.

hate crime carlton gilford kunzweiler
Tulsa Police arrest Carlton Gilford, 61, on April 18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Tulsa Police Department)

DA Kunzweiler didn’t release details about the evidence he used to file the additional charge.

“The allegation in this charge is that race or color played a role in these shootings,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told Newsweek in a statement on Friday.

According to the most recent data available from FBI Hate Crimes statistics, Tulsa Police recorded five hate crimes in 2021. The hate crimes were recorded as one anti-gay, one anti-Muslim, one anti-LGBTQ+ (mixed group), one anti-Asian, and one anti-multiple races. Two of the offenders were classified as white while the race of four other offenders was not recorded.

In 2020, Tulsa Police recorded one hate crime against a white victim, with the offender being recorded as Black. In 2019, TPD recorded three hate crimes: one anti-Black, one anti-gay and one anti-LGBTQ (mixed group). The two documented offenders in those hate crimes were a Black person and a white person.

Documenting hate crimes is voluntary

It’s unclear whether the hate crimes documented by TPD represent the full scope of attacks taking place in the city because American police officers are not legally required to report them. Reporting hate crimes to the FBI is voluntary.

Despite an explosion of hate crimes taking place during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the latest figures from the FBI show the number of hate crimes fell in 2021 to 7,303 from a high of 8,263 in 2020.

Only 11,883 agencies out of 18,812 (or 63% of) city, state, municipal and tribal law enforcement agencies sent data to the FBI.

Since its first report in 1991, FBI hate crimes statistics have been critically flawed. There has never been full participation by law enforcement, a fact noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“The 2021 HCSA data is even more drastically incomplete than previous years’ data, to the extent that any comparisons between last year and previous years are almost meaningless,” SPLC wrote in an article titled “Consistently Inconsistent: Thousands of law enforcement agencies fail to provide hate crime data to the FBI.”

Carlton Gilford faced an arraignment on May 1 in front of Tulsa County Judge Loretta Radford, where he pleaded not guilty and was issued a public defender, court documents show.

Gilford’s next preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 23.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply