Public Expresses Opinions Over Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Tuesday, July 7th 2015, 6:31 pm
By: News On 6

Tuesday, a Tulsa County Commissioner took the brunt of the complaints against the sheriff's office at her town hall meeting.

She asked for public comment on the sheriff and got a room full of about 50 passionate people.

Eric Harris's brother, Andre, and son, Aidan, were in the front row, but the one person they wanted to hear their concerns wasn't there.

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz was nowhere in sight, but the town hall meeting was all about the sheriff and the fact that commissioners voted to use public money to pay the sheriff's private counsel to help him fight a grand jury investigation.

"Silence the voices of Tulsa County citizens at the taxpayers’ expense," one person said.

The hour-long, air-all-grievances meeting hosted by Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith, was heated.

"And we need the grand jury to go beyond what they're going to do in putting him out because we need them to also recommend that he go to jail," said one woman at the meeting.

There was laughter when Keith said people come from all over the world to learn from Sheriff Stanley Glanz and how he operates his nationally-acclaimed sheriff's office.

But the moment that moved the room came when Keith told Andre Harris, she was sorry for his loss. Andre said Keith is the first elected official to personally apologize to him and gave her a hug.

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But there were still several questions, including one by Eric's son, Aidan.

“Why do the taxpayers of Tulsa County, including members of my family, have to pay for private attorneys to fight against a grand jury investigation to why my dad was killed," he asked.

Keith said she understood and would share all of their concerns with the other commissioners.

The sheriff's attorney and spokesperson, Terry Simonson, was also at the meeting and said he'd do the same with the sheriff.

When Simonson was asked if the sheriff is trying to dismiss a grand jury investigation because he had something to hide, he denied those claims.

"No, he's not avoiding a grand jury. I think this is what he, he does not think it all is really about him. He thinks this is really about some of the other pending civil lawsuits that are pending against the jail and the grand jury is just being used for that purpose," Simonson said.

But the people at the meeting said the grand jury investigation is to get the sheriff out of office and even to get charges filed against him.

“The fact remains is that there are questions the people of this county want answered about Sheriff Glanz," one person said.

After the meeting, Simonson explained why Glanz wasn’t in attendance.

“It's a little far down the road now for the sheriff to come and expect that there could be a civil conversation," he said.

Simonson also said the sheriff cannot come out and talk to the public because former Reserve Deputy Bob Bates' case is pending, and there are ongoing investigations by the OSBI and the FBI.

He said Glanz is depressed and angry about everything that has unfolded since Eric Harris's death in April.