National org. rallies to support officer

RefusedPaul Fields: The police captain refused to send his officers to an appreciation day at a local mosque.

ACT! for America, a national organization committed to warning Americans about the dangers of radical Islam, will hold a rally Tuesday in Tulsa in support of Tulsa Police Capt. Paul Fields.

Fields was suspended for two weeks in June for refusing to obey an order to send his officers to a law enforcement appreciation event at the Al Salam Mosque.

Tulsa's Say No to Hate Coalition is organizing a counter-demonstration at the same time and place.

Both groups plan to meet about 10 a.m. at the Chapman Centennial Green Park, 600 S. Main St.

Mana Tahaie, director of racial justice for the YWCA, said the Say No to Hate Coalition is rallying to support the Muslim community, which is celebrating Eid, the end of the Ramadan fast, on the same day.

She described the coalition as a 30-year-old loose-knit network of social justice organizations that includes the YWCA, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, the Islamic Society of Tulsa and others.

She called ACT! for America an Islamophobic organization.

"We want to demonstrate that Islamophobia is not welcome here," she said.

Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Executive Director Ray Hicks sent out an email to members Thursday inviting them "to stand up with 'Say No to Hate' in response to ACT! for America."

ACT! for America urged members in an email to "please join us for this important event!"

The organization's Executive Director Guy Rodgers and National Field Director Kelly Cook will be in Tulsa for the rally.

The email said the group will rally at the park at 10 a.m. and then walk five blocks to City Hall to deliver to the mayor a petition with more than 51,000 signatures in support of Fields.

In late February, Fields was ordered to send some of his officers to an open house at the mosque being held to thank police officers for their handling of a recent threat against the mosque.

He wrote to his superiors that he considered the order unlawful, in direct conflict with his personal religious convictions, and that he would not require his subordinates to follow it.

He filed a federal lawsuit claiming his First Amendment rights were violated. The lawsuit names the city, Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Deputy Chief Daryl Webster.

Fields' attorney, Scott Wood, said the lawsuit is still pending. He said he has advised Fields not to speak to the media.

"We appreciate ACT's support and their understanding of Capt. Field's position," Wood said.

After an internal investigation, Fields was suspended without pay for disobedience and for violating a rule on conduct unbecoming an officer.

Bill Sherman 918-581-8398 SUBHEAD: The local Say No to Hate Coalition plans a counterdemonstration.

Original Print Headline: National group to rally for officer

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