Tulsa Police Officer Arrested In Sting Operation, Accused Of Robbing Hispanics

Saturday, August 25th 2012, 12:29 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan addressed media Saturday afternoon and reminded about a promise he made 18 months ago to clean up the force and bring down offenders on the inside.

"There is no thin, blue line in this department that protects its own," Jordan said.

As earlier reported by News On 6, a joint investigation by TPD and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics ended in the arrest of a TPD officer.

According to a police report, an undercover sting was staged Friday evening by the two agencies, and TPD officer Marvin Blades Jr., 37, was arrested on a second-degree robbery complaint. Police said the investigation was "ongoing for several months," and Blades is suspected of targeting many Hispanics for traffic stops and stealing their money.

Jordan said 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.

The arrest report says Blades pulled over an OBN agent in an undercover vehicle about 10 p.m. on Friday in the 2800 block of North Lewis Avenue. Blades used his assigned TPD patrol car and pulled over the undercover agent and "was armed with a Glock .40-caliber pistol and was in the Tulsa Police uniform with badge," the report says.

When Blades approached the agent, he instructed the agent to leave his wallet in the seat and go to the back of the vehicle. Blades then went to the front of the vehicle, near the wallet, before allowing the agent to leave the traffic stop, investigators said.

When the undercover agent returned to the cab of his vehicle, he found six documented $100 bills missing from the wallet, according to the report.

Officers involved in the operation continued surveillance on Blades until just after 2 a.m. on Saturday, when they felt he could be arrested in a safe manner, the report says.

An arresting officer found cash in Blades' right pants pocket, police said. Blades reportedly told police the money belonged to his wife, but detectives matched the serial numbers to the bills used in the sting.

Friday night's events matched details of multiple reported robberies alleged to have been carried out by Blades, the report says.

Blades was assigned to TPD's Gilcrease Division at the time of the robbery, police said. He was released on $25,000 bond, but remains on suspension with pay. Blades has been employed by TPD off and on since 1997.

TPD believes there are more victims who haven't come forward because of fear. Those who believe they are victims in Blades' alleged scheme are asked to call TPD at 918-596-9137.

Blades Jr. is son of former cop who reportedly lied about traffic stop

Blades is the son of Marvin Blades Sr., a former longtime TPD officer who once served on the force's gang unit and also had a high-profile controversy within the department.

A search of News On 6 archives shows that north Tulsa citizens were upset and the NAACP called for the then-police chief's resignation over a 12-day suspension of Blades Sr. in 1995. They claimed it, and his subsequent reassignment to another division, amounted to racial discrimination because Blades Sr. "stood up for black officers' rights," archives show. 

However, an investigation by TPD Internal Affairs showed Blades Sr. was suspended for lying about a traffic stop and identifying someone as a gang member in public.

"Christopher Cox was shot and killed by a gang member on May 11, 1994," News On 6 reported in 1995. "Tulsa gang officer Marvin Blades [Sr.] later showed a videotape of Cox's funeral at a seminar and said Cox was a gang member. Cox's family said that's a lie. Internal Affairs officers asked Blades about it and found he couldn't prove Cox was a gang member."

Documents showed there were two reasons Blades Sr. believed Cox was a gang member -- because he saw a tattoo on Cox's arm and because he and fellow officer Bill Purifoy pulled over Cox in a traffic stop a few years before.
However, the medical examiner's report said there was no tattoo on Cox, and a sworn affidavit from Purifoy said he never participated in a traffic stop.

Then-TPD Chief Ron Palmer told News On 6 that Blades Sr. got into trouble when he started making up things to cover his story about Cox, archives show.

"There's an expectation, especially when we go to go court, that we tell the truth and anything we talk to the public, about whatever, that we're telling the truth," Palmer said in 1995. "We seek out people who tell the truth to be police officers."

Court records show Blades Sr. filed suit against the City of Tulsa in 1995 in an appeal of the suspension, but it was later dismissed. He was eventually given back his job on the gang unit, according to News On 6 archives.

Blades Sr. served for nearly 30 years at TPD and is currently employed as an officer with Tulsa Public Schools.