OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma County Jail Trust voted to 6-0 to hire outside counsel to defend them in a lawsuit filed by County Commissioner Kevin Calvey.
Calvey is also a Jail Trust member. The lawsuit claims the County Commission has the power to keep ICE agents in the jail.
“We will be fighting the lawsuit essentially,” Tricia Everest, chair of the Jail Trust, said.
A letter from the law firm representing the Trust shows fees could cost up to $50,000 in taxpayer money.
“There’s a budget item that also supports paying the District Attorney’s office, but at times there’s a conflict with the District Attorney’s office. It’s not uncommon for public bodies to have to enlist outside counsel to defend the lawsuits,” Everest said. “It certainly will come with the territory.”
The Trust voted to move public comment to the beginning of the meeting. Several commenters spoke virtually, asking the Trust to keep ICE in the jail. Others commented in person, saying they believe ICE perpetuates racism.
Everyone was asked to leave the room for executive session. When they got back, the Trust quickly adjourned the meeting to the surprise of protesters, who thought there would be more time for comments.
Protesters had what they said was a productive exchange with the General Counsel of the Trust after the meeting, who was the only one attending in person.
Calvey wasn’t at the meeting because he is a trustee. He sent a statement that said, “Oklahoma is not a sanctuary state on immigration like California. I will always fight to cooperate with federal law enforcement at ICE.”