Equality Indicators meeting

Citizens applaud comments on Equality Indicators during a City Council meeting in June. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World file

Correction: This story stated an incorrect date for the next Equality Indicators meeting. The story has been corrected.


The City Council will take public comments Wednesday on use of force by Tulsa police officers.

The meeting is part of the council’s review of the city’s Equality Indicators reports. The reports show that African Americans are more likely to experience use of force by police than other Tulsans, a contention disputed by the Tulsa Police Department and the union that represents its officers.

Wednesday’s council meeting is set for 5 p.m. in City Council chambers at City Hall, Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue. Councilors will receive comments for one hour, with speakers limited to three minutes.

Individuals who would like to speak at Wednesday night’s meeting must complete request-to-speak cards in person at City Hall before the public-comments period of the meeting begins. Request-to-speak cards will be available beginning at 4 p.m. in City Council chambers.

Councilors will use what they hear Wednesday to formulate questions for panelists at the July 17 special Equality Indicators meeting. The topic at that meeting will be racial disparities in police use of force and existing practices to improve outcomes.

The special meeting is at 5:30 p.m. in the Chapman Music Hall at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Second St.

The panelists will be Melanie Poulter, Equality Indicators project manager at the Community Service Council; Dr. Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt, psychology professor at Stanford University and author of the book “Biased”; Michael W. Brose, director of Mental Health Association Oklahoma; Chief Egunwale Fagbenro Amusan, president of the Tulsa African Ancestral Society; and Deputy Chief Jonathan Brooks and Capt. Thaddeus Espy of the Tulsa Police Department.

Earlier this year city councilors agreed to examine four aspects of the reports. The first Equality Indicators special meeting was June 26 and focused on racial and gender disparities in police arrests of juveniles.

The final two special Equality Indicators meetings will be held in August and September. The topics to be addressed are minority and gender under-representation in the Tulsa Police Department, practices in place to improve recruitment and retention of minority officers, and racial and gender disparities in police arrests of adults.

In the 2018 Equality Indicators Report, the city’s score for Race and Officer Use of Force was 20 out of 100. The Equality Indicators report found that blacks are five times more likely than Hispanics and twice as likely as whites to experience officer use of force.

The city’s score improved to 34 in the 2019 report, with blacks three times more likely to experience officer use of force than either Hispanic/Latinos or whites.

The reports measure dozens of equality indicators, not just those related to public safety and law enforcement, that compare “outcomes of groups likely to experience inequalities, such as racial minorities, to groups less likely to experience them, such as whites,” according to the reports.

The indicators are scored on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 representing complete inequality and 100 representing full equality.

Tulsa was one of five cities selected by the 100 Resilient Cities program to participate in the Equality Indicators project.

The 2018 Equality Indicators Report was the city’s first, providing a baseline upon which to gauge progress or regression.

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Kevin Canfield

918-645-5452

kevin.canfield@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @aWorldofKC

Staff Writer

Kevin Canfield has covered local government in Tulsa for nearly two decades. He also has reported on downtown development, zoning and community planning.

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