Oklahoma cop faces backlash but won't apologize after saying African Americans 'probably ought to be' shot more by police
A police commandant in Oklahoma is "checked" after saying that officials during a local radio interview "shot less African Americans than we should".
The Tulsa Police Department condemned the comments from Major Travis Yates, who is white, and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum called Yates' comments "stupid" and asked for an apology in a Facebook statement.
"Chef Wendell Franklin and the Tulsa Police Department want to make it clear that we do not endorse, condone or endorse Yates' comments on the show," the department said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, adding, "This matter has been referred to ours Department of Internal Affairs. "
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"He doesn't speak for my administration, the Tulsa police or the city of Tulsa," said Bynum.
Yates made his comments during a section titled "Behind the Blue Line" on the Pat Campbell Show that aired on local AM radio station KFAQ. He also claimed that systemic racism in police work "simply does not exist".
During the interview, Yates said police brutality advocates "made regular Americans believe that police only chase and kill black people on the streets. It's exactly the opposite of what the research says and what the data says."
"All of the research, including Roland Fryer, an African American Harvard professor, Heather MacDonald, and the National Academy of Sciences, has shown that we shoot African Americans about 24% less than we should have been committed to because of the crimes," said Yates .
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Yates also referred to the Washington Post real-time database, which has recorded fatal police shootings since 2015. The data showed that a smaller percentage of police shootings affected unarmed black Americans than unarmed white Americans.
While the data shows that white people make up half of the police shootings, black Americans are disproportionately killed by the police, the Washington Post reported. According to the latest census data, white Americans make up 76.5% of the US population, while black Americans make up 13.4%.
This means that blacks are shot by the police 2.5 times more often than whites, the Post reported.
In an interview with Tulsa's ABC partner on Wednesday, Yates said he was researching and did not share his opinion.
When asked if he thought black Americans weren't shot enough, Yates replied, “This is absolutely crazy. I'm amazed that anyone would think about it. That's crazy. I cited data that said they are underrepresented in that data. So I don't want anyone to be shot. Nobody does, but the data that most people believe in is alternative data, and that is the data that I cited. "
He told the television broadcaster that he would not apologize "because what I said was correct based on the data."
Yates' comments come amid ongoing nationwide demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
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Lt. Marcus Harper, also President of the Tulsa Black Officers Coalition, expressed concern about Yates' comments, especially given his position as "ruler" in the agency.
"His attitude will go downhill for the young, brand new officer or the field training officer," said Harper at a press conference on Wednesday.
The Tulsa police are also facing questions about another recent incident.
The department released video footage of two officers arresting two black teenagers for jaywalking this week. The videos show the officers aggressively throwing one of the boys to the ground while the other asks, "Why are you putting your hands on him?"
The almost 20-minute videos show an officer who stays on the teenager, who also lies on his stomach after the handcuffs.
"Away from me! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Shouted the teenager.
"You can breathe well," replied the officer. "You're okay."
Contributors: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Oklahoma Cop is facing a backlash: Black Americans should be shot more
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