Chief: TPD officer's essay after 3 police killed 'inappropriate'

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 17:17:57-04

TULSA (AP) -- Tulsa's police chief is condemning an online essay by a Tulsa officer who wrote that the five police officers shot in Dallas and the three officers killed in Baton Rouge, "solidifies what just about no one wants to acknowledge: We are at war!"

Police spokesman Sgt. Shane Tuell says the post was written by Maj. Travis Yates and says the chief reviewed the post Tuesday and found its wording "inappropriate."

Yates made the post on the same day as three officers died in Baton Rouge.

Tuell says the chief would not comment what disciplinary action, if any, Yates would receive as a result of the posting.

A phone number listed for Yates was disconnected.

A local civil rights group, We the People Oklahoma, asked Tuesday for Yates to resign over the comments.

"We the People continues to work on behalf of the people to keep our elected officials accountable to those they vowed to serve. In a recent article Commander Travis Yates in the Gilcrease Division of the Tulsa Police Department wrote that 'This is war' and 'We are at war.' He compared the recent incidents in Dallas and Baton Rouge to September 11th and stated 'Those thoughts and feelings came back like a vengeance this morning as I heard the news about Baton Rouge.' He mentioned Black Lives Matter being invited to the White House and suggested that organization was the reason for violence around the country. This is completely unacceptable for a division commander. If he thinks police are at war who exactly are they at war with? Black Lives Matter, regular citizens, minorities, you and I, anyone who doesn’t immediately agree? One of the definitions of war is 'an organized effort by a government or other large organization to stop or defeat something that is viewed as dangerous or bad.'

Commander Yates rhetoric is divisive and very concerning. Especially since there have been no issues of violence in Oklahoma like there have been in other locations. Many of the leaders in this state have worked tirelessly to find ways to improve the relationship between government and the people. Pitting the police against the citizens of this state does nothing but deepen the mistrust and divide that already exists. If the Commander of the Gilcrease Division is this divisive what is he filtering down to the officers under his command? We are not at war.

We call for the immediate resignation of Commander Yates. His comments are not only divisive but irresponsible and harmful. His obvious resentments, bias and preconceived misconceptions are dangerous. Its obvious relationships between some members of the public and law enforcement are fragile and this type of inflammatory rhetoric frays the thread even more. We cannot have a commander, who is sworn to protect and serve, behave so irresponsibly. Commander Yates must resign immediately."