Human Rights Watch releases report on policing in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. – An independent organization is urging the City of Tulsa to make changes following a report on bias in policing.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch released a study called “‘Get on the Ground!’: Policing, Poverty and Racial Inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

Organizers say they have been investigating policing in Tulsa since the shooting death of Terence Crutcher three years ago.

Following the shooting, the group interviewed hundreds of people including citizens and elected officials, along with reviewing data from the city, police and court system.

The report alleges that black residents are subject to force twice as often as white people. It also states that black and poor people are stopped 10 times more than residents in typically white and wealthier neighborhoods.

“The investigation leading to this report found evidence of racial bias in policing outcomes, but not proof of pervasive racism. No doubt, there are officers and commanders who hold and act on racist viewpoints, whether explicit or implicit. There is evidence of racial bias in the descriptions of the treatment of black people by police and in the difference described about policing in primarily black parts of North Tulsa. There is evidence of racial bias in the disparities in racial impact of policing encounters,” the report states.

The group recommended that the city fund more non-law enforcement mental health professionals, while suggesting the police department impose strict reporting requirements for all police contacts with the public.

FOX 23 reached out to Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, who released the following statement:

“I am proud of the men and women in the Tulsa Police Department. I am proud of the work they do to protect the citizens of Tulsa, and I am proud of their work over the last three years to develop a community policing approach that will best serve Tulsans. They have done all this without sufficient staffing and with unprecedented scrutiny. We want the Tulsa Police Department to be the best police department in the nation. That is why we maintain more rigorous standards for education and training than most of our peers. Part of being the best is a willingness to invite outside review of the way we work. The Tulsa Police Department has done that proactively, repeatedly, and transparently in recent years and my hope is that we will do more of it in the near future. Each of these reviews offers takeaways we can build upon, and I would expect this report to be no different.”

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