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Tulsa City Council hosts first Equality Indicators meeting

Posted at 9:39 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 23:26:05-04

TULSA -- Tulsa city councilors hosted the first Equality Indicators meeting Wednesday evening to discuss racial and gender disparities in policing juveniles.

"Those data points simply serve to speak what we already know in a language maybe other people can understand," said Gregory Robinson, a citizen panelist.

Some weren't easy questions for participants to answer.

"Has their been any analysis to determine if blacks are charged more seriously than whites for the same crimes?" said Vanessa Hall-Harper, City Councilor for District one.

But at least the were being asked during a healthy discussion.

"There’s obviously more research to be done, this is just a drop in the bucket," said Melanie Poulter, with the Community Service Council.

The first equality indicators meeting focused on racial and gender disparities of police arrests when it comes to juveniles.

"Are they redirected in any way to say that was not a situation where you needed to handcuff a child?" said Hall-Harper.

The panel ranged from law enforcement officials, to those in the justice system, to civilians.

"We get general complaints at times without details and that makes it difficult to hold individual officer accountable or to provide remedial type training," said Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish with the Tulsa Police Department.

The 2018 Equality Indicators report found African American youth are three times more likely to be arrested in Tulsa, than white youth.

"Those kids and those individuals with mental health situations that do not have means to pay $300 for a psychiatrist," said Alondo Edwards, with the Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Tulsa police officers spoke about the programs in place to build trust within children in the community, including Police Activities League, and Project Trust.

"There’s hundreds of officers at the Tulsa Police Department that do this every day," said Officer Jesse Guardiola with the Tulsa Police Department.

Everyone had a common goal, to find out what they can do to make Tulsa a more equitable place to live.

"Today I hope can be the first step in how we go forward and address these issues," said Edwards.

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