Tulsa police release body cam video of officers handcuffing black teenagers for jaywalking

New eyewitness video shows Tulsa police officers handcuffing and arresting two Black teenagers for jaywalking. Police bodycam footage of the incident was previously released. CNN's Abby Phillip reports.

Posted: Jun 19, 2020 8:51 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2020 8:51 PM

Tulsa police have released body camera footage from two officers who arrested a black teenager and handcuffed a second for jaywalking last week.

The videos were released in response to social media messages from the community about the arrest, police said. The videos appear to have been blurred and redacted by police to conceal the teenagers' identities.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement Wednesday that the incident is under investigation.

"I want every kid in Tulsa to feel safe to walk down the street in their neighborhood. No Tulsa kid should have to fear being tackled and cuffed for walking down the street. I viewed that footage last night more as a parent than a mayor," he said.

"I know the officers in that unit focus on removal of illegal guns from the streets, but the goal of that work should be that families feel safe in their neighborhood. This instance accomplished the opposite."

In the videos of the June 4 incident, the two teenagers can be seen walking down the middle of a road together before they are approached by an officer on foot and a second in a squad car.

Once the officers reach the teenagers, one officer can then be seen forcing a teenager onto his stomach to handcuff him, while holding him down with his arms and knees. The second teenager is also handcuffed, but doesn't struggle and remains standing.

'You want to see me in jail or dead'

The teenagers can both be heard repeatedly asking the officers why they are being detained and handcuffed and the teenager being held accuses the officers of targeting him be because he is black, saying "you want to see me in jail or dead."

One of the arresting officers responds by telling the teens they were breaking the law by jaywalking.

As the officers then unsuccessfully try to place the struggling teenager in the front seat of their squad car, the teen yells, "Call my momma!," threatening to beat the officer holding him if he gets out of his handcuffs.

The second teenager can be heard repeatedly telling his companion, "Chill out, bro. It's not worth it."

A caged squad car arrives and an officer shoves the teenager who continues to struggle, into the vehicle.

In the course of the arrest, a black man across the street starts to question the officers' treatment of the teenagers, when one officer can be heard telling him to get out of the street or be arrested as well.

While the first teenagers remains inside the caged squad car, the second teenager is eventually released from his handcuffs and instructed on how to avoid jaywalking going forward.

Tulsa police says the department's Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the first teenager's arrest and said it is unable to comment on the arrest pending that investigation.

Tulsa Police major denies systemic racism

The footage was released as a Tulsa Police major faces sharp criticism from city officials for denying the existence of systemic racism and saying that police shoot African Americans "less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes."

In comments to a conservative talk radio host, Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates said systemic racism does not exist.

"...You're going to hear these little buzz words, it's going to be vague. Nobody's going to define it," he said. "That's why there's this systematic racism, all vague. They won't, they can't give you specifics, because I said as I said earlier, it doesn't exist," he said during the podcast.

Yates also cited research from Roland Fryer, an African-American economics professor at Harvard, that he claimed disproves systemic racism.

"When you take the total number of people shot -- 96% of people shot by cops who had a weapon and were threatening that weapon. Okay, so 96%, when you take that number, it's about 24% African American and you know the rest mixed races and that's why you get this meme of blacks are shot two times, two and a half times more," he said.

"So when you look at law enforcement contacts, if a certain group is committing more crimes, more violent crimes, and law enforcement's having to come in more contact with them, then that number is gonna be higher," Yates said. "Who in the world in their right mind would think that our shootings should be right along the US Census lines? That's insanity. Right? But everybody's just buying off on this."

Yates said the research shows "we're shooting African Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed."

Speaking to CNN, Yates said that he meant that systematic racism in policing doesn't exist, but he said he recognized racism does exist and calls it our "sin nature."

He also said that he stands by his comments and added he was just quoting research.

Police chief rejects comments

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said he and the police department do not "endorse, condone, or support" Yates's comments, and he said Yates is assigned to the Records Division, which is primarily staffed with civilians.

"We want to make it clear the statements made by Yates are not a part of any curriculum or training provided by the Department. Yates's comments do not align with the mission, values or policies of the Tulsa Police Department," he said.

Mayor Bynum similarly criticized Yates's comments.

"I want to believe he didn't intend to say what he did, but what he did say goes against everything we are trying to achieve in community policing," Mayor Bynum said.

Compared to white Americans, black Americans are more likely to be arrested by police, more likely to be convicted, and more likely to be imprisoned for longer sentences, according to The Sentencing Project. Police officers are almost four times more likely to use force on black people than white people, according to data on reported incidents from 2016.

"The United States in effect operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and people of color," The Sentencing Project writes.

The end result of what author Michelle Alexander calls the "criminal injustice system" is that black Americans make up a third of the US prison population despite only making up around an eighth of the country's total population.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Florence
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 87°
Decatur
Few Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Scottsboro
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
Etowah191425
DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
Walker145763
Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
Limestone118313
St. Clair118212
Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
Sumter36118
Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
Crenshaw2843
Choctaw27312
Henry2433
Greene24011
Cherokee2337
Geneva2260
Clay2165
Lamar1942
Fayette1695
Cleburne1141
Coosa902
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 109627

Reported Deaths: 1073
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21296285
Davidson19320199
Rutherford604251
Hamilton562147
Knox392634
Williamson323022
Sumner316069
Unassigned29244
Out of TN282312
Wilson206420
Montgomery171111
Bradley170510
Sevier17025
Trousdale15726
Putnam154713
Robertson143216
Hamblen121713
Tipton11049
Blount10987
Maury10665
Washington10382
Madison88912
Bedford86210
Macon83413
Hardeman79411
Sullivan7809
Lake7440
Bledsoe6681
Loudon6493
Fayette6178
Anderson5995
Dickson5871
Gibson5582
Cheatham5445
Dyer5427
Rhea4971
Jefferson4892
McMinn47920
Lawrence4746
Obion4274
Henderson4260
Carter4245
Lauderdale4216
Coffee4112
Warren4004
Hardin3987
Cocke3911
Cumberland3756
Greene3695
Haywood3695
Smith3613
Monroe3569
Roane3561
Giles3449
Hawkins3244
McNairy3105
DeKalb3041
Franklin2854
Marshall2632
Weakley2603
Lincoln2511
Carroll2263
Hickman2260
Crockett2233
Wayne2141
Claiborne2120
Henry2110
Campbell2071
Marion2064
Chester1921
White1913
Grainger1680
Polk1661
Johnson1600
Decatur1591
Unicoi1360
Overton1341
Union1180
Cannon1170
Jackson1071
Grundy1012
Humphreys1013
Scott1010
Meigs960
Sequatchie940
Benton921
Morgan791
Fentress740
Hancock741
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay620
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore420
Van Buren320
Pickett221

 

 

Community Events