Ex-Tulsa Police Officer Convicted Of Robbing Hispanics In Traffic Stops
A former Tulsa police officer on Thursday was convicted on five counts of robbery with a firearm in a case where fellow officers accused him of targeting Hispanic drivers while in uniform.
Blades' sentence will be split -- 35 years in prison followed by 35 years of probation.
Marvin Blades Jr., 38, was arrested in August 2012 after officers and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents set up a sting operation. According to Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan, Blades had long been suspected of targeting Hispanics for traffic stops and stealing their money.
Jordan said last year that peer-reporting was a huge factor in netting Blades' arrest. Fellow officers on the street witnessed what they deemed suspicious behavior by Blades, and an investigation began, he said.
Blades turned down the chance to take the stand Wednesday.
He is also the son of a former longtime officer who served on the gang unit. His family was in the courtroom for the verdict. His wife broke down in tears and had to be helped outside.
Judge Tom Gillert brushed aside the defense's contention that at the most Blades should have been charged with only larceny, which carries a much lighter punishment.
Judge Gillert said the suggestion that any other person was "shaking down" Hispanics in the middle of the night in Tulsa was preposterous, based on the evidence presented.
He said he kept trying to think of a reason why the incidents wouldn't be considered robbery with a firearm, but couldn't.
Blades' attorney said he plans to file an appeal.