BOK Center

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.

The Tulsa Police Department has released body cam video of the arrest of protester Sheila Buck at June’s Trump campaign rally.

The hour-plus video starts with Officer Matthew Parker confirming with his supervisor Buck is to be arrested for trespassing. Parker then confers with a private security guard for the event just before Buck, who sat silently inside the event fence and was wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt, is pulled to her feet, handcuffed and led out of the fenced area in front of several reporters.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

Officials in Tulsa said Thursday that a direct causal connection cannot be drawn between the coronavirus infection of former presidential candidate Herman Cain and his attendance at President Trump's rally last month at the BOK Center.

"I don't know how he caught it," Mayor G.T. Bynum said of Cain, who, like the majority of the 6,000-person crowd at the rally, did not wear a mask in the arena. "I haven't seen any conclusive information on where he got it from."

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department and a personal friend of Cain, agreed.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Updated Aug. 4, 12:05 p.m. to correct "Cox Business Center" to "Cox Business Convention Center."

One month after their controversial booking of President Trump's 6,000-person reelection rally, representatives of the BOK Center and the Cox Business Convention Center in downtown Tulsa are expressing worry over how hard it is to keep events on the schedule.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A journalist who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last week said Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies said he was notified Friday of his positive diagnosis.

Andy Watson, photo courtesy of Bull Stock Media

Following President Trump's reelection rally, an event widely criticized due to public health concerns amid surging COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, the operators of the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa said Thursday they are considering bringing another large event to the arena: a Professional Bull Riders competition in early August.

Odell Architecture

At a special meeting of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) held virtually on Tuesday, an executive from the company that manages the BOK Center said they will not book or sign contracts for any further events without clear guidelines.

"Our intention is not to book any additional events, or contract with any additional event organizers, until we have some policies or guidance from the TPFA and perhaps even other local officials, including the public health director," said Doug Thornton, an executive vice president at ASM Global.

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.

Tulsa Police

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum signed an executive order on Thursday putting a curfew in effect for a downtown area covering several blocks around the BOK Center ahead of Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

No one may be out in the area until 6 a.m. Saturday unless they’re going to or from work or home. The area stretches roughly from Sixth Street to Archer Street and from Houston Avenue to Boulder Avenue. That includes the BOK Center, so people planning to attend the rally cannot legally camp on the sidewalk outside.

Odell Architecture

Updated June 18, 6:55 p.m. to include a statement from the mayor's office.  

The authority that oversees City of Tulsa–owned venues does not believe it can move Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

Despite concerns about filling a 19,000-seat arena in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases, members of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority concluded they don’t have power to cancel contracts entered into by ASM Global, the company that manages the BOK Center.

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:

Tulsa Health Department

One week before President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a campaign rally at Tulsa's BOK Center, local and national health experts are warning that large indoor gatherings have the potential to further worsen the still-growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa next Friday will be downtown at the BOK Center.

It will start at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 4 p.m.

It’s likely several streets in the area will be closed. Tulsa Police expect protests and warn there’s the potential for people to join peaceful demonstrations in order to commit crimes.

The decision to hold the rally on Juneteenth, a day celebrating the end of slavery, has drawn strong criticism from black Tulsans. 

The company that manages the BOK and Cox Business centers is not expecting any event revenue for the rest of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many scheduled events and concerts have canceled or are talking about canceling. General Manager Casey Sparks told the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority they’re furloughing employees and are whittling down expenses as much as possible but expect to use money from a $17 million capital reserve fund to pay some ongoing costs, like utilities.

The Arena District in downtown Tulsa can seem, at times, like the heart of the city -- like when there's a big show at the BOK Center, or a large convention at the Cox Convention Center. At other times...it's pretty quiet. So, one key question is how best to turn a limited-use area into a thriving year-round destination. This matter is now being explored by the City of Tulsa's Master Planning Process; it's a process that's being underway for months now.

Summer is now, alas, leaving the proverbial building...but barbecue doesn't have to exit along with it. On this edition of ST, we learn about the free-to-the-public Rock 'N Rib BBQ Festival, which is happening at 3rd and Denver in downtown Tulsa from today (the 17th) through Sunday (the 20th).