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Oklahoma Highway Patrol Profiled Dr. Gill and Gill’s Family

By Contributor David Harland 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is actively implementing a policy of racial profiling by interpreting a person’s hands being in the air as probable cause for drug searches.

In a traffic stop on January 5, 2018, Rev. Dr. Eric Gill was told to exit his vehicle. When he did, he put his hands in the air as a caution. Immediately, the officer yelled “now, why do you have your hands up, that means you have drugs! Do I need to search the car!?”

Captain Paul Timmons was quoted in defense of this OHP policy, saying “it kind of raises a red flag to law enforcement officers, people get out and instantly throw their hands up.”
But Rev. Dr. Gill didn’t have drugs in his car. Instead, his wife and eleven-month-old child waited and watched as he stepped out of the vehicle.

Exclusion and Erasure of Transgender Students of Color in the City’s Public School System

By Managing Editor Timantha Norman

Tulsa, Okla. — During my especially tumultuous second year of teaching for the city’s largest public school district, a student was placed in my class mid-year with little to no background information given from the counselor or administration on the student. I only heard a few vague insinuations about her and things that were “different” about her. When she arrived into my class, she informed me that she went by a different name than what was listed as her birth name, which happened to be a stereotypically male first name. With this revelation and other aspects of her physical appearance, it became evident that she was transgender. This student also happened to be African-American. I had had a transgender student in one of my classes — before, a white transgender male. However, the difference in how these two students were treated by the school’s staff and administration was palpable.

You Are a Double Refugee from Congo and Rwanda and We Want You—and Need You— Here in America

In light of President Trump’s recent—and disgusting—comments about immigrants from Africa, Haiti and any other countries he considers to be “shitholes”, I have been reflecting on so many wonderful people from the very places that he chose to insult. People who are more optimistic, grateful, hardworking, and kind than pretty much anybody I’ve ever met, let alone the current leader of the free world. One young Rhode Island man in particular stands out in my mind. He is a double refugee who arrived to Providence, Rhode Island only a few short years ago after a life of strife and struggle that most of us, including the President, can’t even fathom. He is someone whose story I have shared with my own three sons because of how remarkable he is in both spirit and strength. Despite his own enormous challenges, he is driven by a desire to give back to those in need.

Oklahoma’s NAACP has Dr. Eric Gill’s back | Issues Statement

Oklahoma City – Today Oklahoma State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) calls for a meeting with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Commissioner concerning the treatment of Dr. Reverend Eric Gill, Youth Minister at Metropolitan Baptist Church, and former Basketball Coach at Heritage Hall School.  Dr. Gill is approximately 5’6”, 170lbs and physically not seen as an immediate threat to anyone.

When did putting your hands up – a universal sign of surrender – become a message of “having drugs?” This is a prime example of Betty Shelby’s irrational behavior when she killed Terence Crutcher.  According to the Tulsa Police officers, they stated that he looked like a “Big Black BAD DUDE.”  With his hands in the air, according to Betty Shelby, Mr. Crutcher was reaching for a gun, and no one thought to question whether his hands being next to the car window was simply a reflection.  “It is evident why so many law enforcement officers are acquitted when encountering African-Americans who they say are a big bad black dude no matter their height or weight.” Said Anthony R. Douglas, President Oklahoma State NAACP.