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Questions raised over stabbing response during Tulsa Police internal affairs investigation

Posted: 5:28 PM, Mar 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-20 19:14:34-04
Body cameras reviewed for internal investigation

TULSA, Okla. — Footage from March 2 appears to show a Tulsa Police officer trying to turn off his body camera while on the scene of a stabbing.

The victim, Judge Sharon Holmes, was found with a stab wound to the leg. It first was classified as an accidental injury, then it later was changed to domestic violence. Now, the entire evening is under investigation.

"I think some officers might have been confused as to what type of call they were on, and that might be why some of those cameras were turned off," TPD public information officer Jeanne Pierce said.

Much of the video released is redacted, heavily blurred or shows officers holding their hands over their cameras. Pierce said this was because a child and the victim were in the house, creating a privacy concern.

There are also times where the audio is muted, like during a phone call with a supervisor. We looked at TPD's policy which said "any tampering or obstruction with the intent to disable the 'mobile video recorder system' during enforcement is forbidden."

We asked police if that policy was followed in this case. Pierce tells 2 Works for You some officers likely were confused about when enforcement was over.

"I do know that there is an internal investigation into the whole incident," she said. "Once we get through our internal investigation we might find that there are some issues that need to be addressed."

RELATED: Stabbing of Tulsa County judge prompts TPD internal investigation

Pierce said the kinds of redactions in the the video the department released are not taken lightly.

"They don't ever redact something that doesn't need to be redacted," she said. "They follow the policy. That's the job that they have when they put those out. They're putting them out in accordance with the Oklahoma [Open] Records Act," she said.

TPD policy requires officers to document the reason for any delay or non-activation of a body camera. The department said access to those documents depends on the outcome of the internal affairs review. It's not clear how long the investigation will last.

For now, TPD is interviewing all of the officers, about 15 of them, involved that evening.

Holmes' daughter, Adrienne Smith, was arrested and charged with felony domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the stabbing of the judge. Smith remains in the Tulsa County jail.

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