OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma County Jail Trust held a meeting and passed a resolution that would allow them to move forward with allocating CARES Act funding to the jail.
Protesters made their voices heard as Trust members voted to move forward with $34 million of funding.
Protesters put on a mock funeral as a metaphor for the money they say was taken from the community.
“We gather here today to mourn a loss, a loss of food to feed the hungry, a loss of housing to shelter the homeless, the acts of the Jail Trust, led by Kevin Calvey, have caused the people of Oklahoma County to hunger and thirst to the point of perishing,” a protester said.
Protesters also put up police tape and tried to do a citizen’s arrest on Trust members as officers watched in silence.
A list of potential uses for CARES Act funding includes $12 million for first floor renovations, $4 million for water control, and $1 million for PPE. There are also things like fixing the exhaust system and radios for staff members. The full list can be found here.
Jail Trust members say the vote doesn’t finalize anything yet.
“That list of items is not an item for approval for today. The item for approval today is the resolution. The resolution doesn’t spend any money. The resolution establishes a process,” a Trust member said. “It doesn’t spend any money, but it sets up a plan, a process, an orderly process to go forward with these projects, but it does not authorize spending any money.”
“How dare you do this to Oklahomans? How dare you do this to the citizens while you take money and literally try to fix things that have been in a disaster since this damn jail was opened,” protester Mark Faulk said. “You are fixing a sewer system and a water system that has been leaking on the floors since day one and we all know it. That is not COVID-related, you will go to jail for that.”
“Are you listening? This is from our hearts,” protester Lisa Brooks said.
One Jail Trust member also voiced concerns over items on the list like radios.
“That’s not COVID-related,” Frances Ekwerekwu said.
Another agenda item involved an ICE office at the jail. The Trust narrowly voted to remove an agent after lots of demands from protesters.
“It’s time that we remove that agent from our jail,” Ekwerekwu said.
The Trust also voted to pass a resolution to work with a program director. That person would help with implementing repairs and improvements.
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