Tulsa Police Compliance Checks Create Conflict With City Councilor
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa's Police Chief released new details on a war of words with a city councilor Monday.
Chuck Jordan defended his officers' compliance checks at downtown businesses owned by Councilor Blake Ewing.
Ewing said he feels his businesses may have been targeted and argues that the amount of police resources devoted to it was a waste.
"I'm the last person trying to break a city of Tulsa law," Ewing said.
In a Tulsa Police recording from January 31, Councilor Blake Ewing repeatedly disagrees with the way police and ABLE agents carried out compliance checks on his businesses, like Max Retro Pub, Joe Mamma's and Back Alley Blues & BBQ.
He also questions whether that's the best use of police time.
"I get that you think you did the right thing. I completely disagree with the way you handled this," Ewing said. "It's not my job, I'm not your boss and I'm not pretending to be, I'm just begging for a different approach from law enforcement."
The compliance team issued 28 citations that night, mostly involving arcade and liquor licenses. Only three of the 10 businesses checked are not owned by Ewing or his fellow businessman, Elliot Nelson.
Chief Chuck Jordan said the checks began in October and have been carried out at more than 200 bars and restaurants. He said all checks are done without regard to business ownership.
Ewing said he understands the checks, but felt that the time of day - like 6 p.m. on a Thursday at Joe Mamma's - and the increased police presence freaks out his customers during the profitable evening rush.
He maintains that nine officers and agents were in the restaurant the night in question, which he calls wasteful.
"The next time someone from your department sits across the table from me at the City Council meeting saying, ‘We are short of police officers and that is why crime is the way it is,' I'm going to recount this entire incident," Ewing said.
Jordan said there were never more than five law enforcement officers in the restaurant at any time.
He writes, "There are clear indications that they remained professional and tolerant ... when confronted by harsh and aggressive behavior, themselves."
Ewing said he set up a meeting with the police chief for this Thursday, but now doesn't think that meeting will accomplish anything.
He issued a statement Monday night, saying he's done fighting about it:
"Our small business community shouldn't ever fear retribution from law enforcement, rather, we should all be working together to create a community in which small businesses can thrive, in accord with and under the protection of the law."