Black Lives Matter

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.

Facebook / Broken Arrow Police Department

Please see this editor's note about a photo change on the story.

Updated June 10, 7 p.m. to clarify a quote and link to a study cited.

Discussing nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, a white Tulsa Police Department major said Monday systemic racism in policing "just doesn't exist."

Chris Polansky / KWGS

An assemblage of faith communities met at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Monday morning for a rally and march to Tulsa City Hall to demand an end to police violence, the latest such event following the brutal, caught-on-camera killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

A crowd of an estimated 200 people carried signs in support of Black Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement, and were joined and led in prayer and song by leaders of Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, AME, and other Christian denominations. 

Courtesy

Demonstrations against police killings of black men and women spanned the weekend in Tulsa, wrapping up sometime before 2 a.m. Monday.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, came out for a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally that started in Greenwood early Sunday evening. The crowd marched through downtown, going onto the north leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop near Detroit Avenue, which was shut down by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for about two hours.

Black Wall Street Times

Hundreds of Tulsans participated in a local demonstration on Saturday calling for policing reform, joining protesters in cities across the U.S. speaking out against recent killings of black men and women by white men and police.

Organizers of the "We Can't Breathe" peaceful protest said the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd brought racism in America to the forefront and renewed the call for justice and true reform.

Tulsa's John Hope Franklin Center will soon present the 11th Annual Reconciliation in America National Symposium, from May 27th through June 2nd. Given the pandemic, the symposium this year will happen online, and it will carry the theme of "Reconciliation and Technology: Neutral Resources for Social Good." This theme, per the John Hope Franklin Center website, "unites us as change agents, researchers of effective practices, and peacemakers in the intentional journey of reconciliation.

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. His book moreover shows how the imperialism, racism, and capitalism that have defined the city have likewise defined our nation's history.

(Please note: This edition of ST originally aired back in March.) Our guest is Mitchell S. Jackson, whose new book is an autobiographical collection of essays called "Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family." As was noted by The Boston Globe, it's a "vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood.... Jackson recognizes there is too much for one conventional form, and his various storytelling methods imbue the book with an unpredictable dexterity.

(Note: This interview first aired last October.) As a young black man, RJ Young grew up with a healthy distrust of guns, but when he married into a family deeply immersed in America's gun culture, he knew he would have to learn about them -- at least, to a certain degree. Today, the Tulsa-based Young (who works as a sports-radio host) is a certified NRA pistol instructor...yet he doesn't carry a gun.

The Tulsa-based John Hope Franklin Center will soon present its tenth-annual Reconciliation in America National Symposium, and the theme for this year's event is "Civic Engagement and Reconciliation: The Survival of Democracy." The symposium will happen from May 29th through the 31st, and the keynote speaker will be Kenneth B. Morris -- the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T.

Our guest is Mitchell S. Jackson, whose new book is an autobiographical collection of essays called "Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family." As was noted by The Boston Globe, it's a "vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood.... Jackson recognizes there is too much for one conventional form, and his various storytelling methods imbue the book with an unpredictable dexterity. It is sharp and unshrinking in depictions of his life, his relatives (blood kin and otherwise), and his Pacific Northwest hometown, which serves as both inescapable character and villain....

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) Our guest is Marc Perrusquia, a journalist with the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, where he's worked for the past three decades. Perrusquia has a new book out, a very compelling work of history called "A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement." As was noted of this book by Kirkus Reviews: "The story of an African-American photographer who spent 18 years feeding information to the FBI....

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