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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.

Trump Campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he is rescheduling his first campaign rally in months to a day later so it won’t conflict with the Juneteenth observance of the end of slavery in the United States.

 

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. 

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.

KWGS News File Photo

WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (AP) — Dozens of residents of a small Oklahoma city were temporarily evacuated early Saturday after a train derailed and spilled a hazardous chemical, officials said. 

 

The train went off the tracks at around 2 a.m. in Wynnewood, a community about 65 miles (105 kilometres) south of Oklahoma City, according to BNSF Railway spokeswoman Amy Casas. No one was hurt in the derailment, she said.

Black community and political leaders are calling on President Donald Trump to at least change the date of an Oklahoma rally kick-starting his return to public campaigning, saying that holding the event on Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in America, is a “slap in the face.”

Trump campaign officials discussed in advance the possible reaction to the Juneteenth date, but there are no plans to change it despite fierce blowback.

Yes on 802

With a vote on a state question to expand Medicaid less than three weeks away, Republican state lawmakers think they know how it will go.

"I think 802 is likely to pass," House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City) said during a legislative briefing with the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

"We’re all expecting it to pass. We are," said Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David (R-Porter).

File photo

Oklahoma schools are eligible to apply for federal funds available to respond to the coronavirus.

Gov. Kevin Stitt Stitt and state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Friday that $16 million is available, with grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 based on enrollment as of Oct. 1, 2019. The money is coming from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds controlled by Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Whirlpool

Appliance maker Whirlpool has temporarily closed its Tulsa plant because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

About 1,700 people work there. The company declined to provide details, like how many employees have been infected, but they plan to reopen the facility by early next week.

In a statement, a Whirlpool spokesman said they had increased cleaning following federal guidelines, allowed for physical distancing on production lines and checked employee temperatures.

Visitation at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Oklahoma may resume Monday under a phased approach, according to an executive order by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

"It is important we take a measured and responsible approach to allowing visitors to our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, just as we did with the rest of our state," Stitt said in a statement. "This guidance will allow us to continue to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans while allowing them to safely resume valuable interactions with their loved ones."

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 222 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the most in a single day during the outbreak.

The state's previous one-day high was 171 cases on April 4.

Statewide, there have now been 7,848 cases of the illness, and 1,098 are currently considered active.

Tulsa County had 71 of the new cases reported Friday, the most it's seen in a single day so far. The county's four largest one-day increases have all come this week: 71 on Friday, 65 on Tuesday, 64 on Thursday and 47 on Wednesday.

Friday's top stories:

  • President Donald Trump's announcement that his first in-person campaign rally since March would take place at Tulsa's BOK Center on Juneteenth has drawn outrage across the country.
  • The majority of public comments at a public hearing on the City of Tulsa's proposed budget called for defunding the Tulsa Police Department.
  • Tulsa County's three largest single-day increases in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic were recorded this week.

In a rare occurrence, dozens of Tulsa residents weighed in on the proposed city budget in a public hearing, most of them asking officials to defund the police department.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa is asking Gov. Kevin Stitt for a moratorium on evictions through July 25.

The request is being made through a joint resolution with Oklahoma City and Norman, and it also asks for a ban on penalties and fees for people who can’t pay rent.

Tulsa City Councilor Lori Decter Wright said the COVID-19 pandemic and sudden economic downturn has put hundreds of families on the verge of homelessness.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The field is set for Tulsa’s municipal elections in August.

Seven men are running for mayor against incumbent G.T. Bynum, including three black men with ties to Greenwood: community organizer Greg Robinson, Black Wall Street Gallery owner Ricco Wright and restaurant owner Ty Walker.

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. 

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said Thursday that while he doesn't agree with those who say American policing is systemically racist, nor does he support an end to qualified immunity, he does believe in making some significant reform to the criminal justice system.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa County on Thursday, the county's second-highest one-day increase during the outbreak.

Tulsa County now has 1,372 total cases.

Thursday's jump in cases follows Tulsa County posting its largest single-day increase on Tuesday with 65 new cases and what's now its third-largest increase on Wednesday with 47.

Thursday's top stories:

Shortly after publication, we made the decision to change the original photo on our story about comments made by Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates.

The first photo we used showed Yates at an event with a man who turned out to be Racism Stinks founder and Executive Director Richard Baxter.

Baxter is also a producer for "Focus: Black Oklahoma," a program that airs on KWGS. The news department, unfortunately, has not had the opportunity to meet their team.

Courtesy

An Oklahoma man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a fall from a bridge when a truck drove through a crowd of protesters in Tulsa is improving, his brother said Wednesday.

Ryan Knight, 33, is hospitalized in stable condition and is regaining use of his hands and arms, but still cannot move his legs after suffering broken vertebra in his neck and back, and a fractured pelvis and shoulder blade, Randy Knight told The Associated Press.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is commiting $50 million to a project that aims to turn Tulsa into a tech hub.

Tulsa Innovation Labs announced Wednesday it has narrowed it down to five areas of focus for the city’s tech niche: virtual health, energy tech, drones, cybersecurity and analytics. Co-founder and Managing Director Nicholas Lalla said Tulsa has existing assets in each of those areas, so nothing needs to be built from scratch.

State Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa) proposed a set of police reforms on Wednesday he wants passed into law next legislative session.

Nichols’ March for Reform Initiative includes an Office of the Independent Monitor at the state level to review police incidents, a task force to oversee law enforcement training and standards, and a registry of officers dismissed for misconduct so it’s harder for them to get hired at another agency.

"They represent foundational pieces for what I believe should be a new normal in law enforcement across the state," Nichols said.

Wikimedia

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail next week with a rally here in Tulsa.

A location has not been announced, but it will be June 19, which is also Juneteenth, a day commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation and one that's significant to a city with a history marred by one of the nation's biggest acts of violence against black Americans.

Trump will follow his Tulsa rally with events in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

Department of Defense

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — There are 117 new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma and two additional deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Wednesday.

There have been at least 7,480 confirmed cases and 355 deaths in the state, up from 7,363 cases and 353 deaths reported Tuesday. The actual number of people who have contracted a virus is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

Tulsa Police Department

The Tulsa Police Department issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying it and Chief Wendell Franklin "do not endorse, condone or support" comments by Maj.

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.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Tulsa County reported its largest ever day-over-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 infections. Four- and seven-day averages of new cases are the highest ever, and the 14-day average of new deaths is rising.
  • Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates is coming under fire for comments he made saying that systemic racism in policing "doesn't exist" and suggesting that American law enforcement officers possibly shoot Black Americans less than they should. 

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.’

 

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