Protests continue as OK Co. officials attempt to use CARES Act money for jail trust

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Protesters gathered at a Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting where the trust was set to discuss millions of dollars in CARES Act funds approved to be allocated to them by the county budget board last week.

“Let us speak, let us speak,” protesters chanted during a jail trust meeting on Monday.

This comes after a 5-4 vote last week by the county budget board to allocate $36 million in federal CARES Act funding to the trust for COVID-19 response at the jail, on top of $6 million already allocated to them.

The Trust was set to discuss accepting those funds, with no public comment on the agenda, when protesters showed up, demanding the trust allow them to speak.

“Let people sign up and do this right like an actual public meeting,” Mark Faulk, a local activist, yelled at the trust members.

“I have just said if you were referring to item, I would allow public comment at this time,” chair woman Tricia Everest said.

“You didn’t put it on the agenda, don’t act like you care about what we have to say,” Jess Eddy, another local activist, yelled back.

The trust ultimately voted to have a special meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday for public comment.

“I will put off any vote so we can conduct the rest of our business,” Everest said.

Before the trust can vote to accept the money, the board of county commissioners first has to approve the budget board’s vote, which is expected to happen at their 10 a.m. meeting Wednesday.

County Treasurer Butch Freeman has been vocal about his concerns about the total of $42 million in CARES money being allocated to the jail.

“It’s CARES money, clearly there will be a lot of things it could be used for and there will be a day of reckoning, you will have federal auditors here,” Freeman told News 4 Monday.

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