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Report shows minor improvement in equality in Tulsa

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Posted at 10:05 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 23:05:09-04

TULSA -- The City of Tulsa sees slight improvement in their 2019 Equality Indicators report, which uses data to measure equality as it relates to economic opportunity, education, housing, justice, public health and services in Tulsa.

"Is it as much of an improvement as I’d like to see us make? No," said Mayor G.T. Bynum.

What jumped out to many Tulsans in the 2018 report was the analysis that black Tulsans were five times more likely to be victims of officer use of force than any other race or ethnicity.

"The reality is two years ago, lots of people had a gut feel for a lot of this information, but there wasn’t any one place that all Tulsans can go to and see where we stack up related to equality," said Mayor G.T. Bynum.

It sparked a debate on how the stats were presented. The report used total population as a denominator in examining use of force, while Tulsa police officials say it's more accurate to analyze by the number of arrests,.

In this year's report, it showed multiple denominators of measuring use of force including total population, total number of arrests, and total number of contacts with police.

"We track that, we’re very transparent, we actually look forward to more studies being done with how well we do with taking those individuals into custody with the least amount of force necessary," said Sgt. Shane Tuell, spokesman for the Tulsa Police Department.

In the 2019 report, the use of force score improved from 34 to 20, showing black residents were three times more likely to experience officer use of force.

One of Mayor Bynum's greatest concerns in the report was the increase in child neglect, compared to national averages.

"As a dad, more than anything else, really bothers me," said Mayor Bynum.

Out of the six topics, four had improved scores from last year, and two declined: justice and housing.

The city's overall score improved from 40.02 out of 100, to 41.74. While it is an improvement, Mayor Bynum says it's not nearly where he wants it to be.

"It’s one of the great frustrations of this job that I've had to get acquainted with, is nothing moves as fast as I want it to move," said Mayor Bynum.

Back in March the Tulsa City Council voted unanimously to hold public meetings on these reports, mainly focusing on racial and gender disparities in police arrests and use of force. The meeting is set for June.

You can view the entire 2019 report here.

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