Bright mid-day view of the traditional neoclassical architecture (copy) (copy)

House Bill 1993 would have allowed cities like Tulsa to create public safety districts that would, with local voter approval, fund police, fire and ambulance services with property taxes. The bill passed the state House last year, but was shelved when it reached the Senate. 

A group of 31 Oklahoma lawmakers led by Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, bravely issued a statement last week that they are foursquarely behind the police.

Making direct reference to the defund police movement, the “outright lies and commentary” allowed by “some” of the news media and the shootings of two Tulsa police officers, the legislators issued a press release decrying the hostile environment toward the rule of law and direly warning that “the spread of anarchy is quite likely.”

In a similar vein of posturing, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin tweeted last week that the national media has “the blood of two officers shot in cold blood” on their hands.

State Rep. Monroe Nichols, who wasn’t a part of the legislative statement but is the son of a police officer, pointed out that a lot of the legislators who signed onto the press release (including Gann) also voted against House Bill 1992, which would have allowed cities to create public safety districts that would, with local voter approval, fund police, fire and ambulance services with property taxes.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and the Tulsa Regional Chamber backed the bill as a way to fund public safety and move from unreliable sales tax receipts for critical services.

The bill passed the state House last year, but was shelved when it reached the Senate.

We also see a lot of names on the list who have voted for permissive gun laws, which have made the streets more dangerous for everyone, including police.

“All Oklahomans must know that we will never bend a knee to a mob, nor will we ever comply with demands to defund those who protect the rule of law and the citizens of Oklahoma,” the press release says.

The press release’s premise are senseless. We defy anyone to read the criminal history of the man accused of shooting the Tulsa police officers, as detailed Wednesday by Tulsa World reporters Andrea Eger and Samantha Vicent, and come to the conclusion that events in the past few weeks are to blame.

The lawmakers’ language plays on emotions of the public in a cheap, political fashion. The people who said they don’t want to defund the police voted against police funding.

Op-ed columns in The New York Times and protests from people demanding an end to police brutality aren’t what undercuts the police in Oklahoma. The people in the state Capitol are.


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