Tulsa police have released two body cam videos of the arrest, telling media the arrests are under internal investigation.
The videos have been blurred which makes it more difficult to see what is going on but at one point a cop wraps his arm around the neck of one of the teens from behind.
“Why are you choking his neck?” the other teen asks.
“Nobody is choking him,” the cop responds.
The teens keep questioning why are they being detained and the cops keep responding with “jaywalking” as if were a capital crime.
Just over four minutes in the video, one of the teens is facedown on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him and begins saying, “I can’t breathe!” but the cops, as usual, tell him he is lying.
“You’re fine,” a cop tells him while holding him down.
The incident took place last Thursday and has drawn criticism from the mayor of Tulsa as well as one of their own officers who represents the Black Officers Coalition.
But a high-ranking officer within the department, Tulsa Police Major Travis Yates, rejected any claims of racial bias and seemed to suggest that cops should be shooting and killing more black people.
According to Tulsa World:
Yates spoke on the Pat Campbell Show on Talk Radio 1170 on Tuesday. He discussed “defunding the police,” chokeholds, police relations and policy. He denied the existence of systemic racism several times and also discussed officer-involved shootings.
“By the way, all the research on this says … we’re shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed,” Yates said, later telling the Tulsa World he was referencing controversial research from an economist, as well as a conservative commentator and the National Academy of Sciences.
“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,” Bynum wrote in a Facebook post.
The Tulsa Police Department issued a statement saying it didn’t “condone or support” Yates’ comments and that they are being reviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit.
Yates’ statements also prompted a news conference from the president of the Tulsa Police Department’s Black Officers Coalition, who said the comments reflect a broader problem with police.
“The issue is the culture of policing,” Tulsa Police Lt. Marcus Harper said. Harper specified that he wasn’t representing the Tulsa Police Department with his comments but was representing the Black Officers Coalition.
“That’s what we’re fighting against — the culture of policing,” he said. “Because these are the things that we’ve done historically. We’ve done them this way all the time.”
Just over 15 minutes into the video, a black man appears and questions why they are arresting the teens so aggressively but cops threaten to arrest him for
“standing in the middle of the street” when the video shows he was standing off to the side and maybe had a foot on the street, if anything.
Meanwhile, the pressure for Major Yates to be fired for his comments is building up. In 2016, he was criticized for writing an opinion piece on a cop website saying “we’re at war,” insinuating that it is the people waging war on police when it’s actually the other way around. The article has since been removed.
Below are images from Google Maps that show a clearer image of the location where the teens were walking to show it is not a major roadway.
The full video is above and the shortened edited video is below.