Black Lives Matter OKC to hold press conference in response to weekend protests

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Black Lives Matter organizers will hold a press conference Monday to discuss the protests against the death of George Floyd that took place over the weekend in Oklahoma City.

“In light of recent events of police violence and escalation and out of
concern for all people, we–on behalf of OKC’s black community and all Oklahomans of
conscience–will hold a press conference to issue the following demands to city leaders
responsible for the crisis at hand. We will also address further actions to take place in the event our demands are not met.”

  • An apology from Police Chief Wade Gourley and Mayor David Holt and the immediate resignation of Gourley, whose lack of leadership resulted in aggressive actions by the police towards peaceful protesters, escalating tensions and resulting in violence that could have been avoided.
  • The immediate release without charges of all incarcerated protestors who were arrested for nonviolent offenses or “resisting arrest” while defending themselves or their loved ones from unlawful use of excessive force by OKC PD and the sheriff.
  • Disciplinary action and termination be taken against all police officers who violently attacked peaceful protesters.
  • The immediate installation of an independent citizens’ complaint review board for the OKCPD, which will have authority to review all complaints, including use of force, and discipline offending officers.
  • Mayor Holt meet with us within 24 hours.
  • Provision of training in de-escalation tactics for all OCPD officers, which must include training in interactions with persons who have mental health issues as well as training that includes cultural sensitivity.
  • The immediate public release of the arrest record of Olain Jefferson, Jr. and body cam footage of all police involved in his arrest.
  • The immediate public release of all video footage of the OKCPD incident involving and resulting in the death of Derrick Ollie Sr.
  • The arrest and prosecution of David Stewart for the kidnapping and illegal confinement of Mr. Travis Miller Sr.
  • Justice for the family of Mr. Elray Barber who was shot and killed by OKCPD on Christmas Eve 2019.
  • Justice for Ms. Rolana Keeler who was shot by OKCPD on Christmas Eve 2019 while unarmed.
  • Mayor Holt commit to the construction of a grocery store on the Eastside of OKC to be completed within 6 months.
  • The granting of clemency and immediate release of wrongfully charged member of our community, Julius Jones, by Governor Stitt.

This conference comes after protests took a turn Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday around 7:30 p.m., hundreds of Oklahomans gathered at NW 23rd and Classen where protesters blocked traffic.

OKCPD attempted to clear the area several times throughout the evening- arresting several people. Officials say some officers sustained minor injuries during this time.

About 13 demonstrators were arrested by 10:30 p.m.

As the night progressed, the protest moved from the intersection to the Plaza District and then ended in downtown Oklahoma City near police headquarters.

Shortly before midnight, officers began firing tear gas into the crowd to disperse the protesters and gave them warnings to go home.

Even after tear gas was fired into the crowd, the protesters would disperse for a short time before reconvening and moving closer toward police headquarters.

Just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Oklahoma City police warned that a small crowd gathered again at N.W. 23rd and Classen, adding that several business have been vandalized and burglarized. At the same time, officials announced that members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office were moved outside the Oklahoma County Jail to protect the facility from protesters.

Around 2 a.m., Oklahoma City police began moving further away from headquarters and started putting pressure on the protesters to clear out. As that happened, some protesters could be seen throwing water bottles at officers.

At that point, many protesters decided to leave the area.

Officials with OKCPD tell KFOR at least 25 people were arrested Saturday night.

On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., organizers and protesters gathered at Nappy Roots Books near 36th and Kelly.

The crowd quickly outgrew the parking lot and moved to the Capitol.

After that, the protest again traveled to the OKCPD headquarters.

As night fell, tensions again ran high.

Protesters were hit with tear gas after attempting to block traffic on I-235.

Tear gas and nonlethal weapons were also used again at the police headquarters.

After the unrest began, Mayor David Holt issued a partial curfew for a designated area downtown where the Oklahoma County Jail and OKCPD headquarters are located.

Officers began to force the crowds out of the area and enforce the curfew.

The curfew will remain in place until Mayor Holt signs another declaration cancelling it.

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