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Tulsa's police union voices concerns as city moves forward with oversight committee

Posted: 9:14 PM, Feb 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 04:16:33Z
Police voice concerns about oversight committee

TULSA, Okla. —
The Office of the Independent Monitor is aimed at tracking the use of force by law enforcement. Officers said oversight is a good thing, but they do have concerns.

Members of Tulsa's Fraternal Order of Police brought up data from the city's equality report on Wednesday, voicing worry over numbers that show force was used on roughly 36 percent of Tulsa's black population. Sergeant Shane Tuell said it wasn't in the context of those arrested.

"When the force is used it's not on the population it's on the individual that was arrested. So those numbers need to be compared to those arrested not the entire population," Tuell said.

The mayor's office said this data was not the driving force behind creating an oversight committee. Their plan is based on a model from Denver. But Tuell said his fear is the role of that group changing over time with things like subpoena power.

"We firmly believe that what this will do is increase lawsuits against police officers, frivolous lawsuits," he said.

In a meeting Wednesday afternoon Mayor Bynum looked to clarify what the OIM would be, saying in the event of a use of force incident attorneys would review an internal affairs investigation after completion. Then they would let the chief know if anything like policy or interviews were overlooked.

"A lot of people thought that we were proposing that we would have citizens with no law enforcement experience whatsoever investigating police officers and rendering judgement on their job performance. That is not what is being proposed. I would never propose that," Bynum said.

City officials are working with the Fraternal Order of Police. Officers said they hope their feedback is used in negotiations.

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