At the request of the Donald Trump campaign, Tulsa police say they arrested a woman in an “I can’t breathe” shirt after she wouldn’t willingly leave a secure area for the event Saturday morning.
Sheila Buck of Tulsa was booked into the Tulsa County jail on a complaint of obstructing officers. The Police Department posted on Twitter that Buck was in an area considered to be private for the event, meaning Trump’s campaign could have people removed at the campaign’s discretion.
A Tulsa World reporter asked police spokeswoman Jeanne Pierce why the campaign asked officers to remove her.
“It is their event, and they requested it,” Pierce replied.
The encounter unfolded late Saturday morning in downtown Tulsa. Nearly 12 hours later, Buck sat exhausted in an SUV near continuing protests as she recounted her story to a Tulsa World reporter.
“What’s going through my mind? Disbelief that this is happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Buck said. “I’m just thankful I’m white and I haven’t been shot. My white privilege.”
Buck said she is a kindergarten through eighth grade teacher at the School of Saint Mary and has lived in Tulsa for more than 40 years.
She said she had planned to attend the Black Lives Matter protest later in the day but noticed that the group stated that it didn’t intend to go near the BOK Center. Buck, who lives downtown, said she heard Trump’s supporters in the streets and wanted to take in those sights early.
Buck put on her black “I Can’t Breathe” shirt and walked to the barricade near the BOK, where she said security let her through. She said she didn’t make it far, though, as Trump campaign folks quickly swarmed her.
“I was surrounded and was told I could not go any further and that I was trespassing on a private event and I wasn’t wanted there,” Buck said. “And I said, ‘This is my town; this is my city. I’m a citizen of the United States of America.’
“And I was just praying as people were looking at me. And I realized they were going to arrest me.”
Buck said she kept reiterating that she had a ticket but that Trump’s campaign people wanted her to walk out. She said she sat down on the ground because she wasn’t going to walk away.
Police later said that whether or not Buck had a ticket was “not a contributing factor” for officers to arrest her.
“They (police) really didn’t know what to do with me, but I think they were under the president’s orders,” Buck said. “My phone’s been confiscated.”
She said police ultimately handcuffed her and dragged her away.
Pierce said in a news release that officers spoke with Buck for several minutes to try to persuade her to leave of her own accord.
“After several minutes requesting her to leave she continued to refuse to cooperate and was escorted out of the area and transported to booking for obstruction,” Pierce wrote.
She said the woman had passed through the metal detector area to the “most secure area of the event accessible only to ticket holders.”
But whether she had a valid ticket was irrelevant, Pierce said.
“Whether she had a ticket or not for the event is not a contributing factor for the Tulsa police in making the arrest,” Pierce said. “Officers at the location, particularly in the ‘sterile’ area, will remove individuals only at the direction of campaign staff.”
Tulsa World reporters saw two people arrested by police on Saturday evening, but Pierce said the department probably won’t have a list available until Monday.
There were other county jail bookings for obstruction on Saturday evening, but it’s unclear if they were related to protesting or the rally.
Four people — two women from Norman and two men from Texas — were arrested about 5:45 p.m. Neither the location of the arrests nor details were available Saturday night.
There was another arrest about 7:45 p.m., with an Illinois man booked into the jail on complaints of assault and battery on an officer, obstruction and resisting arrest. Neither location nor details were available late Saturday.
Video before the rally
Gallery: The scenes before President Trump’s rally in Tulsa