Tulsa County Sheriff Listening To African American Community's Concerns

Wednesday, May 20th 2015, 11:22 pm
By: News On 6

Wednesday, the state's attorney general appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Okmulgee County District Attorney Rob Barris will take over the investigation, but the Tulsa County District Attorney's office will still be in charge of investigating Reserve Deputy Bob Bates.

5/20/2015 Related Story: Okmulgee County DA To Investigate Tulsa Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Stanley Glanz said he's not surprised and welcomes any investigation into the sheriff's office.

Tulsa County District Attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, said he wanted to avoid any conflict of interest since his office has represented the sheriff's office many times in the past.

Since the deadly shooting of Eric Harris by Bates on April 2nd, many allegations have surfaced against the sheriff's office.

Special Coverage: TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy

Kunzweiler is preparing for the next step as local community activist group "We The People" gathers signatures for a possible grand jury investigation into the sheriff's office,

"I want to make sure that the citizens of Tulsa County have confidence in this process, and obviously in the grand jury petition that can possibly be certified, and I don't want any delay in that process," Kunzweiler said.

Glanz said, “We welcome any inquiry, we have no problems with that."

Glanz said Kunzweiler didn't talk to him before announcing a district attorney from a neighboring county will lead any investigation into his office.

"We have been able to shepherd this up to this point and there will be a seamless transition in the handling of anything regarding the sheriff's investigation. At this point, I have no idea where this will go," Kunzweiler said.

The Tulsa County DA's office will still oversee the manslaughter case against Bates.

As investigations continue, Glanz is listening to the African American community's concerns about policies and procedures. He's been meeting with ministers of north Tulsa churches, the NAACP in Tulsa and more.

"We had something that was very wrong and we are trying to fix that and make sure it doesn't happen again,” Glanz said.

The group wants to know more about things like minority recruits, racial profiling and favoritism and cronyism.

"I'm not sure if we have that going on, but if we do I want to expose it, and do what's right and look at the reasons we select persons to select certain things," said Glanz.

We reached out to all of the pastors at Wednesday's meeting but were told they had no comment at this time.

However, Tulsa's NAACP president said the meetings are going well.

The problems in Ferguson, Missouri sparked the meetings between law enforcement and the African American community.