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Tulsa County DA: Violent protesters could face heavy charges

Posted at 11:12 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 00:12:17-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa protests turned violent the past three nights, causing the Tulsa Police Department to make multiple arrests.

At least 10 protesters have been arrested since Sunday night. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said most are facing felony charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.

“Picking up a rock, or any kind of projectile, and throwing it at another person, that could easily be charged as assault with a dangerous weapon," Kunzweiler said.

Kunzweiler also said they’re seeing possible charges of obstructing an officer, which is a misdemeanor, and incitement to riot, which is a felony. He said those being arrested are just a small group of agitators, detracting from the message of the protests.

“And you can see a lot of jurisdictions, including Tulsa, where you can have a very good peaceful protest and have it run smoothly," Kunzweiler said. "And then separate yourself, I would suggest, from those people who are throwing stuff.”

He also spoke about the protesters blocking traffic on interstates and highways, saying doing so can prevent emergency services from getting to those who need help.

“People who are out there that want to make a statement, do that," he said. "And do it under the guidance of your local authorities. Peeling off and getting out onto a highway, you’re violating the law.”

Kunzweiler encourages citizens to make their voices heard, but hopes they’ll do it in a peaceful and respectful way.

“it’s okay," he said. "Get out there and protest all you want, but let’s just do it in a way that is consistent with the framers of our constitution.”

Kunzweiler said formal charges for those arrested have not been filed yet. That will happen in the next few days.

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