OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The events leading up to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis have sparked outcry all the way in Oklahoma.
Local law enforcement agencies say they want to prevent a repeat of what happened.
Retired Oklahoma City police lieutenant Stanley Campbell said, “Officers like this light the fires that ignites our cities. If one person does something wrong in Philadelphia, you feel the effect in Los Angeles and Mississippi and Texas.”
He says he also feels the effect here in Oklahoma.
“I had to speak. I am compelled to speak,” said Campbell.
Campbell has years of experience training officers, training more than 4,000 nationwide.
“Officers should know that these are not the type of tactics they should do,” said Campbell.
Another local police lieutenant, Wayland Cubit, says no training in his 24 years on the job would allow for the actions he saw in Minneapolis.
“Watching the video, I wish I didn’t watch it. It was that painful. There’re areas of the body that you know can cause more serious injury or death – the neck is one of those,” said Cubit.
Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor issued the following statement regarding the events:
“Like all of you, I was deeply disturbed by the police incident in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As Sheriff of Oklahoma County, I believe it is imperative that our deputies receive proper training and we police with respect.
Community trust is built through transparency, and relationships. Last year, I endorsed the creation of the sheriff’s office first ever Community Advisory Board to improve transparency and to make sure we have an open line of communication with those who we protect. We must uphold the highest standards. Our profession commands it, and our community must be treated with dignity.”Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor
Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster also spoke about Floyd’s death, issuing the following statement:
“The recent incident involving the Minneapolis Police Department that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd is both sickening and disturbing. We condemn the actions of these officers, as they are not consistent with the Norman Police Department’s values specifically a shared respect for individual rights and human dignity.
While our officers receive annual training relating to proper use of force, de-escalation, and critical decision-making, I am committed to the continual review of our training methods and curriculums. De-escalation methods permeate through all department training. Norman officers also receive basic academy training and continued education in areas such as Racial Intelligence Training and Education (RITE) as well as trainings relating to cultural sensitivity, implicit bias, bias based calls for service response, and ethical policing.
We also continue to uphold our commitment to transparency through our use of body cameras and the voluntary release of use of force and complaint information and data through our Open Data Portal. I encourage open dialogue with community members and partners as we aim to work together on furthering joint problem solving, accountability, enhanced understanding, and innovation in our policing efforts.
Police officers are charged with protection of life in a manner that is legal, ethical, empathetic and fair. I commit to continuing proactive engagement with our community to maintain and strengthen trust while also establishing a clear understanding that such actions are unacceptable.”
In Oklahoma City, Police Chief Wade Gourley released a video on YouTube saying he’s already looking into his department’s policies.
“We review all instances of uses of force that our officers are involved in. Our officers actually participate in uses of force scenarios and use of force training,” said Gourley.
But some say training alone isn’t enough.
“I’m just fed up and I’m tired of it. Officers, good officers, no longer have the right to remain silent,” said Campbell.
“We have functional racism. This is a gut check right now. This is our Selma moment right now,” said Cubit.
Gourley told KFOR that out of the more than 1 million calls the department responds to every year, a very small amount turn forceful, adding that officers are taught to use deescalation tactics first.