Man released from jail allegedly assaults OKC officer, resulting in only arrest in otherwise peaceful night downtown


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say Monday night was one of the most peaceful in days in downtown after a weekend of protests.

Protests have erupted across the country after George Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Groups are gathering for dialogue and protest.

Oklahoma City police say there was one violent act leading to the only arrest by a man who had just been released from jail but was booked back in a short time later.

“He was in jail, getting released, saw police officers at the barricade for whatever reason, decided to confront them, tried to punch one,” said MSgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

31-year-old Gabriel Yalartai was arrested.

“With the use of a taser, so it was minor use of force,” Knight said.

Yalartai was medically cleared and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail, and charged with one count of assault and battery on a city official.

Knight says that incident is a stark contrast to the most peaceful evening in days.

“There were some non-violent protestors that showed up, we welcome that, we welcome anyone who wants to protest peacefully,” he said.

Some of those protesters gathered early Tuesday morning just after curfew was lifted for a conversation with officers.

“We get made fun of in America because we do not have our fathers and we get called thugs, but we cannot have our fathers if they keep getting killed by police,” said Sincere Terry.

Terry says she’s in school to become a lawyer to influence change.

The dialogue continued through the morning, referencing incidents across the nation that they say are unjust.

“We had that protest just two weeks ago where those white men walked up with AR-15’s to the capitol to get haircuts because we were on lockdown for a coronavirus that was killing us and yet now we’re out here. Let me stop there – there was no tear gas, none whatsoever,” said Terry.

The protesters, vowing to show up until they see the change they want.

“I’m lost for words, really,” said Terry. “I’m so shook that I’m going through this in 2020. I never expected it. I do want everyone to know that we really are out here peaceful. We’re looking for a change and that’s all we’re here for.”

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