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Mayor Bynum, Black Officers Coalition leader respond to video of officers handcuffing black teens after jaywalking
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Mayor Bynum, Black Officers Coalition leader respond to video of officers handcuffing black teens after jaywalking

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TPD teen jaywalking screengrab

This still image taken from video shows two teens who were handcuffed for jaywalking. Police have launched an internal investigation over the incident.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and the president of the Tulsa police Black Officers Coalition on Wednesday responded to police body camera video released Tuesday showing white officers handcuffing two black teens and later arresting a one of them. The arrest occurred after the teen were stopped for jaywalking.

"I want every kid in Tulsa to feel safe to walk down the street in their neighborhood. No Tulsa kid should have to fear being tackled and cuffed for walking down the street," Bynum wrote in a Facebook post.

"I viewed that footage last night more as a parent than a mayor. I know the officers in that unit focus on removal of illegal guns from the streets, but the goal of that work should be that families feel safe in their neighborhood.

"This instance accomplished the opposite. This specific instance is under investigation, but I am also going to work with Chief (Wendell) Franklin to review the way that unit goes about its work in general. We can do better."

Meanwhile, Lt. Marcus Harper, president of the Tulsa Black Officers Coalition, said the incident is an example of police culture that needs to be changed from within. 

"Here's the reality of it: That's the culture of policing. That's the cold hard facts," he said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"The issue is: Are you policing other communities the exact same way?"

The two officer body camera videos show police detaining the two black teens for jaywalking about 5 p.m. Thursday in the 1300 block of North Osage Drive, police said in a news release.

Each video lasts about 21 minutes. They show at least one officer forcing a teen to the ground and then holding him down with his arms and knees while the teen was handcuffed and lying on his stomach.

The second teen in the video was also handcuffed, but he was not being “aggressive,” one officer says.

"That was my neighborhood, where I live, where that took place. Right down the street from where I live," Harper said. 

"Are you policing other neighborhoods the exact same way that you are policing north Tulsa neighborhoods? And as a 25 and a half year veteran, it's not happening. That is the reality of it," Harper said.

"So we can give all the excuses … they were doing this and they were doing that. … It's not happening in other parts of town."

Police said in a news release on Tuesday that an internal investigation into the incident has been initiated.

"It's going to be tight-lipped," Harper said of the internal investigation.

"I have confidence in the investigators in Internal Affairs that are doing the investigation, but here's the deal: Nothing is going to be leaked out to the media regarding that investigation."

Harper went on address another question related to the incident and the investigation: "At the end of the day, does the culture change?

"Is there going to be an officer that is on duty out here tonight that's going to do the exact same thing that's not going to be caught on video?"

He added, "The reason that the people in the Minneapolis community are so enraged is not necessarily because of what they saw on video; it's because this community has been telling you for decade upon decade upon decade that these things are happening off camera."

Bynum in his Facebook post alluded to his support of an independent monitor for the Tulsa Police Department.

"We are imperfect people tasked with incredibly important work with small margins for error. We must always seek to do better," Bynum said in his post.

"That’s why I welcome independent oversight and greater community involvement in our police work.

"I believe in my heart that the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department are courageous, heroic, and selfless. They have a once-in-a-generation leader in Chief Wendell Franklin. They want to be the best for the citizens they serve," Bynum said.

"They deserve an independent entity which can vouch for their good work, and point out where they need to improve. We all do."


An earlier story about the videos appears below:

Tulsa police on Tuesday released videos showing at least two white officers handcuffing and later arresting a black teenager they stopped for walking in the street. Police said an internal investigation has been initiated.

Two officer body camera videos show police detaining two black teens for jaywalking about 5 p.m. Thursday in the 1300 block of North Osage Drive, police said in a news release.

Each video lasts about 21 minutes. They show at least one officer forcing a teen to the ground and then holding him down with his arms and knees while the teen was handcuffed lying on his stomach.

The second teen in the video was also handcuffed, but he was not being “aggressive,” one officer says.

The teen who is standing asks the officers why they hit his cousin while he was handcuffed on the ground and why he was being choked. The officers deny choking the teen, who repeatedly asks why the officers were following him and says he was being targeted because he was black.

The teens also repeatedly asked why they were being detained and handcuffed. At least one officer responds by saying they were “breaking the law” by walking in the middle of the street. An officer can be heard telling the teens they were jaywalking.

Throughout both 21-minute videos, no cars can be seen driving past the area. One car is seen leaving a nearby parking lot.

The teen who was taken to the ground is eventually lifted to his feet. He yells, “Call my momma!” several times and directs profanity at the officers. He threatened to beat an officer if released from the handcuffs.

The teen is eventually taken to a patrol car, where an officer could be heard telling him: “Don’t headbutt me again!”

The second teen tells the teen in the car several times, “Chill out, bro. It’s not worth it.”

About 15 minutes into the videos, an adult appears across the street and asks officers why they are treating the teens the way they are.

The man, who is black, walks partially into the street, and one of the officers threatens to also arrest him if he doesn’t “get out of the street.”

The man backs up to the sidewalk but continues to question officers.

“You don’t have to do all that sh--!” he says. “I’m watching you assault that little boy right there!”

At the start of the videos, two officers approach the teen. Toward the end of the videos, a third officer can be seen.

Large portions of the videos have been blurred, apparently to obscure the teens’ faces, and the sound has been cut at points when names are mentioned.

Police issued the following statement in a news release:

“Over the weekend we received a few messages through our social media page about an arrest that was made involving 2 juveniles this last week. We were able to find the arrest illustrated in the citizen’s video and locate the officer’s videos from their body cameras.

“(Tuesday) in the continued effort to be transparent with our community, we are releasing 2 body camera videos from the arrest of a juvenile and the contact with another in the area of 1300 N Osage Drive on June 4, 2020 at approximately 5:00 p.m.

“This arrest is also under investigation by our Internal Affairs Unit, as such, we are unable to comment on this arrest until the conclusion of the investigation.”


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Michael Dekker

918-581-8469

michael.dekker@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @michaeldekkerTW

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