Oklahoma policing underneath evaluation by america Fee on Civil Rights

The Oklahoma Advisory Committee of the US Commission on Civil Rights (Committee) has one Advisory memorandum on police practices in the state on June 1 of this year and reported on their effects on Individuals and color communities.

Screenshot of a clip captured by a resident of the Tulsa, Oklahoma neighborhood of two boys, ages 15 and 13, on the 4th (video screenshot)

The committee released the memorandum after a series of public Hearings and testimony from researchers, law enforcement officers, community Lawyers and government officials.

However, the results that have been found come as no surprise to Black Oklahomas.


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Investigation reveals inequalities

According to the memorandum, Oklahoma continues to have one of the top three highest incarceration rates of any US state and the highest rate of police violence incidents. In 2018, Human Rights Watch has one detailed check up policing and racial inequality in Tulsa; They found that black residents are 2.3 times more likely to be arrested than white residents.

The research also found that traffic stops are not only more frequent in the predominantly black and poor neighborhoods, but also last longer, with a higher likelihood of being removed from the vehicle, searched, questioned and arrested.

As of 2015, Oklahoma 165 fatal police shootings and of those shootings, 32 black people were involved. This means that about 19% of fatal shootings involve blacks, while only 7.8% of Oklahoma’s population are black.

The Tulsa Police Department is known for its outspoken racism against black people

The Tulsa Police Department was under public control in June 2020 Racial discrimination according to public statements by one of his officers, Major Travis Yates, on a radio broadcast. Yates stated that police officers “shot African Americans about 24% less than we should probably based on the crimes committed.”

The Tulsa Police Department announced it would investigate Yates’ comments, and both the mayor of Tulsa and a coalition of black officers publicly condemned his comments. That same week, the Tulsa Police Department also investigated the detention and arrest of two black teenagers accused of jaywalking. Body camera footage showed one of the teenagers being forced to the ground and kicked by officers.

Findings from the investigation

  1. There is a history of racist policing, both in Oklahoma and nationally, that can still have an impact today.

a. The Tulsa massacre, immortalized at the time by the sheriff’s deputies, still affects Oklahoma’s relationship with the police and race today.

b. In the past, police have sometimes been used to enforce discrimination, including Jim Crow Laws, Black Codes, Stop and Frisk, and other discriminatory norms.

  1. There are known racial differences in police interactions in Oklahoma, including arrest rates, detentions, use of force, and controls and searches. Some of these differences seem to be growing.

a. Black neighborhoods stops and searches are more frequent and take longer. Several northern Tulsa neighborhoods had over 200 stops per thousand, while white and affluent neighborhoods had fewer than 10 stops per thousand.

b. Black people in Oklahoma are arrested far more often. In Tulsa, blacks are three times more likely to be arrested than whites, accounting for 36% of arrests.


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c. Black people account for 38% of violence incidents in Oklahoma, and are five times more likely Victim of violence.

d. Only 8% of the Oklahoma population are black, but 23% of the people incarcerated in Oklahoma are black.

e. The differences also exist among young people. Tulsa police arrest black youth three times more often than their white counterparts.

Further findings

  1. Poverty, crime and race are fundamentally linked in ways that have consequences that are influenced by police practices.

a. Many communities with high police rates are also underserved in mental health, drug addiction treatment, education and health care.

b. The residents of northern Tulsa, a predominantly black community, have a life expectancy of about 11 years shorter than those of the white neighborhoods in Tulsa.

c. Arrest rates are heavily influenced by opportunities in education and employment. In Tulsa, black unemployment is 2.4 times higher than white.

  1. Oklahoma has a lack of transparency about police practices, data, and accountability.

a. The Tulsa Police Department does not collect race or nationality data for screening and arrests, or when officers have conducted searches. This lack of demographic data makes monitoring disparities almost impossible.

b. Current policies and practices for investigating and disciplining officials based on citizen complaints are rarely communicated to the public in a timely and clear manner.

For the full list of findings and recommendations from the Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, see Click here.

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