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Group of Tulsa Black Clergymen Send Trump Letter to Demand Police Reforms

North Peoria Church of Christ

Black Tulsa clergymen said Friday they have sent President Trump a letter demanding he institute nationwide police reforms.

The steps they are calling for include civilian oversight boards for most local police departments, national policing and training standards, and background checks that identify ties to hate groups.

The Rev. Rodney Goss said the Black community is not afraid, they are tired.

"Tired of a bad few applies as the justification for what’s going on in the police department. My thing is if we’re having this many bad apples, it should be time that somebody check the roots of the apple tree," Goss said.

There was another demand that hit closer to home.

"We demand that you call for the termination of Maj. Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department and any police sympathizers of statements asking for the death of more Black citizens," said Rev. Warren Blakney Sr.

On a radio show earlier this month, Yates said research indicates police are shooting Black Americans "less than we probably ought to be." The research he referred to simply stated Black suspects are 24% less likely to be shot by police than those in other racial groups.

The clergymen's letter included several demands not related to policing as well, such as declaring Juneteenth a national holiday, denouncing white violence, calling for reparations for victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre and identifying markers for mass graves where they are buried.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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