Black Lives Matter provide update after closed door meeting with mayor, says some demands will be met

Protests

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Twenty-four hours after asking for a meeting with Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, Black Lives Matter has an update on how the city is set to respond to several of their demands.

“He was very responsive to the list of demands today,” the Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson said.

Black Lives Matter came out of a two-hour closed door meeting with Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt Tuesday, saying they feel a sense of optimism.

“I can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do, but what we can do is start these conversations,” Joshua Harris-Till said.

The conversation focused on three of the more than dozen demands, following the weekend protests, including an outside review board for the police department, a change in their de-escalation policy and a grocery store on the east side of the metro.

“Yes, an apology from the mayor would look good for cameras, but an apology from the chief shows he knows that he didn’t handle the situation to the best of their ability,” Harris-Till said.

One of BLM’s demands include the resignation of Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley.

So far, KFOR has not received a response from him.

“Instead of them being sorry, we just want them to be different,” Dickerson said.

Tuesday, BLM walked from City Hall to outside police headquarters to explain the outcome of the meeting to a few hundred protestors.

A timeline of the fulfillment of the demands is still up in the air, but the group says they are remaining positive.

Holt responded by posting the following statement on social media:

“Today, our City Council spent over six hours discussing police department policies with the City Manager and the Police Chief. The meeting included several hours of comment from dozens of our city’s residents. Following that, I spent almost two hours with leadership from OKC Black Lives Matter.

There are many issues raised by the protests this week, and they go far beyond law enforcement. Having said that, there is no question that in our city and in our nation we have work to do improving the relationship between police and communities of color. I greatly respect and appreciate the men and women of our police department. I also love our residents – ALL of them. These things do not have to be incompatible, and in fact, my empathy for both leads me to desire change that ultimately improves the situation for all.

After much thought, much listening, and many conversations, including very impactful comments made today, I am convinced that our city’s current de-escalation policy needs to be revisited. I am committed to working with the Council and the City Manager and interested community partners to develop and adopt a new one that reflects best practices, as quickly as is practical.

Today in our Council meeting, we discussed the long-standing but little-known Police Department Citizens Advisory Board. After much thought, I am convinced that the current level of community accountability must be improved. I am committed to work with the Council and the City Manager to develop and adopt a new mechanism for accountability that is independent, has strong credibility with our community, and reflects best practices, as quickly as is practical.

I will continue to include OKC Black Lives Matter and other community leaders as this work proceeds. ALL interested parties will have a seat at the table in these discussions. If there is anything I have been committed to in every issue I have confronted as Mayor, it is a collaborative approach.

We also spoke today about the desperate need for a grocery store in Northeast OKC, something that Homeland, the Alliance for Economic Development, and Councilwoman Nikki Nice have been working on since 2018. That project is still on track and we will have the opportunity to brief OKC Black Lives Matter on that project in the coming days.

A lot of people have committed significant time and emotion this week, all in the pursuit of a more just city. I am grateful to them all and I am committed to continuing these uncomfortable but necessary conversations. Together.”

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt

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