OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Police Department is showing its commitment to address excessive use of force and other issues within departments across the country – with local Black Lives Matter leaders responding.
You may have heard of “8 Can’t Wait.” It’s a viral study and campaign for eight policies like banning chokeholds, duty to intervene and de-escalation to reduce use of force and violence.
Over the weekend, the Oklahoma City Police Department took to social media to provide their policies correlating with 8 Can’t Wait.
“Each of these are important and we would like to make the public aware that the Oklahoma City Police Department – we have had policies in place that cover each of the 8 can’t wait policies,” said Capt. Larry Withrow.
The first: banning chokeholds and strangleholds – something that Oklahoma City Police do not train for and will not allow – even recently enacting a sheriff’s directive against it.
Also on the 8 Can’t Wait list: duty to intervene, requirement of warning and exhausting all alternatives before shooting, banning shooting at moving vehicles and the requirement of de-escalation.
Oklahoma City Police require a use of force investigation.
“That’s one of the things the police department in Oklahoma City does above and beyond what a lot of other agencies do,” Withrow said. “Not only do we evaluate the use of force for appropriateness but we evaluate whether de-escalation was used and whether it was appropriate as well.”
Black Lives Matter OKC leader Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson says these polices are encouraging but a complete systematic change is still necessary.
“They don’t seem to always follow them,” she said. “There’s inconsistencies and certainly everyone knows there’s a disparity in how black persons and brown persons, muslim persons and those within queer communities are treated – especially if you have melanated skin.”
Dickerson says in the days and weeks since the death of George Floyd, there have been signs of hope but the nation cannot ignore recent deadly encounters with police.
“We’ve seen two or three within the country,” said Dickerson. “I’ve witnessed two incidents that strike me as concerning – that seem very odd.”
She says she’s thankful for the worldwide support for Black Lives Matter – and is even more encouraged by local children stepping up to organize their own protest.
“Hopefully these are the generations that are going to be able to bring into fruition the change and we don’t have to have any more of our people as a hashtag or an example,” said Dickerson.
For updates on the children’s protest, go to the Black Lives Matter OKC Facebook page.
For more information on 8 Can’t Wait, visit their website.
To see the OKC Police Department’s response to 8 Can’t wait, visit its Facebook page.