Oklahoma County Jail Trust Chair resigns after activists ask for resignation at Friday meeting

Oklahoma Politics

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — An Oklahoma County Jail Trust meeting was held on Friday afternoon to discuss a pending lawsuit after the Trust allegedly violated the Opening Meetings Act.

Now a major player in the Trust— Tricia Everest has resigned.

“All we’re trying to do is make that jail and this government function the way that it’s supposed to,” said Christopher Johnston, Spokesman for Oklahoma Coalition Against People Abuse.

Christopher Johnston now joining Michael Washington in a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Authority. 

The suit was initially filed the day after last Monday’s meeting. 

“I am concerned about the legality of this meeting,” a Jail Trust member said last week.

“We absolutely were in violation of the open meeting act,” Francie Ekwerekwu, a member of the Oklahoma County Jail Trust told News 4.

You may recall, at the last minute, the Trust closing the door to the public– including News 4. Sending everyone to watch online– where at times the meeting was inaudible.

On Friday, Johnston telling News 4 his reasoning for joining the suit.

“I am a man of my word. I have been added to the lawsuit with Mr. Washington. We are asking people who were violated of that meeting, who were denied access to that meeting to also come on,” Johnston said.

Johnston and Washington also upset over this— 

According court document on April 20th, when a summons was to be delivered to Jail Trust Chair Tricia Everest, the document said “address is an empty parking lot.” And wasn’t delivered. News 4 driving to that address and finding it was in fact not an empty parking lot.

During Friday’s meeting, Johnston taking the stand for public comment– asking for Everest’s resignation.

“Under your leadership, you have allowed further suffering of the human beings housed in that facility, violated the constitutional rights of the public, and stained the very majesty of our democracy that many like myself have fought to preserve,” Johnston said.

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Hours later, News 4 officially receiving a letter of resignation from Everest.

“Yesterday, I was confirmed as Secretary of Public Safety, State of Oklahoma. Accordingly, I hereby tender my resignation as Chair and as a Trustee of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority effective today.”

“I am very grateful that she has resigned. I am hopeful that there will be somebody in there that is a competent leader,” Johnston said.

We did reach out to Everest shortly before receiving her resignation. We asked for comment on the pending litigation. Her response was– “Today the Trust held a Special Meeting and engaged Gable Gotwals to represent the authority in this matter.”

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