Activists Set Public Hearings on Racial Disparity
A coalition of civil rights groups and community activists set up a public hearing to discuss racial disparities in how Tulsa Police deal with minorities. The hearing comes after months of protests outside City Hall, and unanswered requests for a hearing before the City Council.
A report on Tulsa's Equality Indicators showing racial disparities in police contact - including black teens arrested three times as often as whites, black adults arrested twice as often as whites, black Tulsans five times as likely to be involved in use of force situations.
The City Council has met to talk about policing and the equality numbers - but it's never escalated it to the point of public hearings.
City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper wants the City Council to do more, but says "There are some councilors who just feel uncomfortable about taking that step and having more detailed conversations."
Two years ago the police department took on recommendations from a community policing report that the City notes shows 97% of the recommendations have been implemented. Police officers are now trained on racial bias, and have greater accountability with body cameras recording their interactions.
City Mayoral Press Secretary Michelle Brooks said "The City of Tulsa is committed to making all core services more equitable. The first Equality Indicators report helped establish a baseline, which we believe will improve year over year as we work to implement the Resilient Tulsa Strategy and the New Tulsans Strategy."
However, the protests continued, leading activists to set up their own public hearings.
"We have issues that need to be addressed, Period" said Hall-Harper. "And ignoring them and pretending they don't exist is not going to get us together and certainly not bring us to the mindset of One Tulsa - and that's the problem."
Tulsa Equality Indicators
City of Tulsa Policing Recommendations Report
City of Tulsa Dashboard