Ahead of the June 22nd Tulsa City Council public listening session on racial disparities in police arrests, use of force and hiring, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to each of the nine city councilors asking them to take the following three critical steps as they examine and address disparities:
1) Consider all available information and data to uncover potential reasons for racial disparities in policing, and request additional information from relevant agencies, if necessary.
2) Solicit and examine how racial biases in policing have impacted Tulsans, particularly residents of color.
3) Develop and recommend concrete, measurable and lasting solutions that will eliminate racial disparities in policing.
In May 2018, LDF and 50 Tulsans sent a letter to Mayor Bynum and then City Council Chair Patrick requesting public hearings to investigate and address racial disparities found in the city’s Tulsa Equality Indicators Annual Report for 2018. Specifically, the report found that Black youth were three times as likely to be arrested as White youth. Furthermore, Black Tulsans were five times as likely to be victims of use of force when compared to White residents.
LDF’s letter summarizes testimony provided by Tulsans about their encounters with police at a March 7, 2019 public hearing we co-hosted with local religious leaders and civil rights organizations. The letter urges city councilors to ask probing questions of panelists who will participate in public hearings on June 26th about the relationship between Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa Public School Campus police as well as how it impacts youth arrests, to name a few.
LDF also urges the city council to support recommendations made over a year ago which include policies requiring the use of alternatives to arrests and the external independent investigation of police use of force incidents.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.