Black Lives Matter

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A number of demonstrations are scheduled around Tulsa Saturday, with potentially thousands gathering for a prayer march with the Tulsa Police Department and separate rallies against white supremacy.

TPD and Sheridan Church are scheduled to lead a "Faith In Blue" march, a faith-based event in support of law enforcement, from John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park on North Greenwood Avenue to TPD headquarters. The march was originally routed down through the heart of the Greenwood District, but Chief Wendell Franklin said he got "unsettling news" that there may be counterprotests.

Our guest is Connor Towne O'Neill, whose writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Vulture, and Slate, and who works as a producer on the NPR podcast, White Lies. He joins us to discuss his first book, which is just out. It's called "Down Along with That Devil's Bones: A Reckoning with Monuments, Memory, and the Legacy of White Supremacy." Per Publishers Weekly, the book offers "an eloquent and provocative examination of the links between protests over Confederate monuments in the South and the resurgence of white supremacy.... O'Neill writes with grace and genuine curiosity....

Oklahoma House of Representatives

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Public Safety Committee spent most of Tuesday hearing from witnesses in two separate policing-related interim studies with two separate focal points: how best to support law enforcement, and how best to reform it.

Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane), who chairs the committee, said his study was meant to identify ways in which the legislature can best support law enforcement officers and agencies.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The city of Tulsa removed a massive Black Lives Matter painting on Monday from a city street in the historic Greenwood District after activists painted it without the city’s permission.

The 250-foot-long (76.20 meters) sign was painted days before President Donald Trump’s June rally and weeks after George Floyd’s death in May after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the neck of the handcuffed Black man for several minutes.

(Note: This interview first aired back in May.) Our guest is Walter Johnson, the Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His new book is a far-reaching, unflinching, and complicated account of race relations in his hometown: St. Louis, Missouri. From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, the course of American events, Johnson argues, has been charted in St. Louis.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Several predominately white Tulsa churches have painted "Black Lives Matter" messages on their properties.

At least four churches painted their messages Wednesday, four years to the day after a white Tulsa police officer shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man. More are expected to paint "Black Lives Matter" on their properties in the coming days.

We're pleased to welcome the Tulsa-based attorney, historian, and author Hannibal B. Johnson back to StudioTulsa. An active and well-respected expert on matters of diversity, inclusion, and social justice, Johnson is also the education chair for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission. He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma." As was noted of this volume by Dr.

The annual, free-to-the-public TU Presidential Lecture Series presents engaging and well-known speakers from a range of backgrounds. This year, given the pandemic, the Presidential Lecture Series will be offered as an "online only" event; it happens on Thursday night, the 10th, at 7:30pm. The speaker will be the bestselling author and activist Wes Moore, who's also the Chief Executive Officer of Robin Hood Foundation, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the US. Moore is our guest on StudioTulsa.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa City Council recommended Wednesday the Black Lives Matter mural on Greenwood Avenue stay — for now.

Councilors approved a recommendation to Mayor G.T. Bynum saying the $20,000 it will take to remove the street painting is wasteful when a street resurfacing project is in the works. The mural is in City Councilor Kara Joy McKee’s district.

Two weeks ago, members of the Tulsa City Council voted to postpone a decision on what action, if any, to take regarding the "BLACK LIVES MATTER" street mural painted in the days leading up to Juneteenth and President Trump's controversial rally in Tulsa. 

On Wednesday afternoon, they again reached no consensus, leaving the matter for a future meeting.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Four people arrested at a Tulsa campaign rally for President Donald Trump, including a Tulsa teacher and a Norman City Council member, pleaded not guilty Thursday to misdemeanor obstruction charges.

A committee meeting of the Tulsa City Council held virtually on Wednesday grew tense at times as councilors discussed the "Black Lives Matter" mural on the street surface of a block of North Greenwood Avenue.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

It's he-said-they-said between Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and key stakeholders in the Greenwood District, as the conflict continues over whether or not the unauthorized "BLACK LIVES MATTER" mural on Greenwood Avenue can remain.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The city of Tulsa announced Monday that it intends to follow through on its plans to remove the Black Lives Matter painting on the roadway of North Greenwood Avenue

The unauthorized street painting, completed in the lead-up to Juneteenth and President Trump's visit to Tulsa, was a subject of discussion at a Tulsa City Council committee meeting last week, where it was  concluded it would be removed due to not having a city-issued permit, and potentially opening the doors to legally having to allow any other painted messages.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Greenwood's proclamation that "BLACK LIVES MATTER" will be erased from the road surface by the city of Tulsa.

In a Wednesday meeting of the Tulsa City Council's committee on urban and economic development, councilors, attorneys and a representative from City Hall discussed what to do about the painting, which was done without a city permit.

The discussion was raised by Councilor Cass Fahler, who said that pro-police groups have inquired about the legality of painting their own message -- "BACK THE BLUE" -- on some other block in Tulsa. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced Thursday that his office will not be pursuing charges against the driver of a truck who drove through a crowd on I-244 during a protest on May 31st.

Oklahoma District Attorneys Council

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several protesters who want Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to reopen an investigation into the 2019 killing of a teenager by police were arrested after holding a sit-in outside Prater’s office.

Several dozen protesters marched from a downtown Oklahoma City park to the courthouse, where several demanded to meet with Prater and asked for his resignation.

Our guest is Dr. Syeachia Dennis, who joined the OU-Tulsa family medicine residency program in 2013, and who more recently completed a master's program from the John Hopkins School of Public Health. An Oklahoma native, Dr. Dennis is an Assistant Professor in the OU-Tulsa School of Community Medicine's Department of Family Medicine. She joins us for a candid, local-level discussion about the racial disparities that exist today in American health care: troubling, long-running disparities in access, treatment, perceptions, and outcomes. Dr.

Facebook / Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City’s local Black Lives Matter chapter posted a total of $1.4 million in cash bonds to release four protesters from jail who were arrested and charged with various crimes during demonstrations against police brutality and racism.

With help from the National Bail Fund Network, Black Lives Matter paid a $750,000 bond to release Eric Christopher Ruffin on Thursday.

Bruce Waterfield / OSU Athletics

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State athletics announced a new diversity council Wednesday amid the fallout from football coach Mike Gundy’s decision to wear a T-shirt promoting a far-right news network.

The school said Jason Kirksey, the university’s chief diversity officer, will chair the new program. The council will include students, athletes and alumni. It will be housed in the university’s Division of Institutional Diversity.

MSNBC

Calling Sheila Buck's nationally televised arrest outside the BOK Center on Saturday an "outrage," the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called for charges to be dropped.

Buck, a Tulsa teacher, was wearing an "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt when, according to a statement from the Tulsa Police Department, the Trump campaign requested she be removed. Buck claimed to hold a ticket to the rally.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One day after Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard lashed out at coach Mike Gundy on social media for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel, Gundy apologized.

 

Tulsa Police Department

Following another public relations black eye, as footage of an incident in which Tulsa police officers handcuffed two Black children in north Tulsa for allegedly jaywalking aired on national news networks, the Tulsa Police Department has issued a new statement on the incident.

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with KWGS News' Chris Polansky on Monday, June 15th, about police reform following last month's killing of George Floyd, Black Tulsans' outrage over President Trump's initial Juneteenth date for a Tulsa rally (and his role in getting it changed), whether he thinks the rally should continue despite warnings from local and federal public health experts, and whether he intends to wear a mask to the rally.

Full transcript:

Fox News Channel

The high-ranking Tulsa police officer who came under international scrutiny last week for his comments that systemic racism in policing "just doesn't exist" and that, based on his reading of research, American law enforcement officers shoot Black Americans "about 24% less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed," appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Friday.

Cherokee Nation

Tahlequah, Okla., the capital of Cherokee Nation, is the latest American city to remove statues honoring the Confederacy amid a widespread national clamoring for an end to systemic racism.

“A lot is going on in this country in terms of racial strife and the Cherokee Nation plays a role in healing, and this is one of the ways we can do that,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Brian Nutt / City of Tulsa

This article was updated at 10:52 a.m., June 10th, to include a response from the Mayor's Office.

With police brutality and institutional racism in the national spotlight following last month's killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a statement Wednesday morning addressing growing controversies involving his administration and the Tulsa Police Department.

Tulsa Police Department

The Tulsa Police Department released body-camera footage from an encounter between officers and two Black teens in north Tulsa who they say were stopped for jaywalking. 

In a statement, TPD Capt. Richard Meulenberg said the video was posted "in the continued effort to be transparent with our community."

TPD says the incident occurred on Thursday, June 4th, on the 1300 block of North Osage Drive. Video appears to show an officer running after the two teenagers. When he reaches them, he grabs one from behind.

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City police have released body-camera videos of an armed black man who died in police custody last year after telling arresting officers ‘I can’t breathe.’

 

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) said this week that she took two major exceptions with Gov. Kevin Stitt's Sunday roundtable discussion on race, put together in the wake of nationwide protests over police killings of Black Americans following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last month.

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