Tulsa Sheriff's Office Questions Legality Of Grand Jury Petition Signatures

Friday, June 12th 2015, 2:23 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is questioning the legality of signatures on a petition calling for an investigation into the agency because free food was advertised to would-be signees on a flier.

Sheriff's office spokesman Terry Simonson cited a state law prohibiting offering anything of value to influence a person's signature. He says no complaints have been filed by the agency against the group collecting signatures.

An organizer with group says free food was offered but no laws were broken because the food table was separate from the area where petitions were signed.

Earlier this week, 'We The People' announced it had enough signatures for a grand jury to investigate the sheriff's office following allegations of misconduct after Reserve Deputy Bob Bates fatally shot Eric Harris in April.

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The group says it plans to turn in its petition June 19. The Tulsa County Election Board will then verify that at least 5,000 of those signatures belong to residents of Tulsa County.

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'We The People' released a statement saying, in part, "The hotdogs were a community event we sponsored for everyone in Tulsa County and to thank our volunteers. Hotdogs were given to anyone who wanted one including children, the homeless, people not registered to vote, people who were new to the state and even a few stray dogs...

"To suggest we were paying for signatures with ketchup, mustard and ballpark franks shows that the representatives of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office are afraid of the community coming together in an effort to seek out the truth."

You can read the full statement here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.