Oklahoma deadliest state for police violence against black Americans

“Stop killing us” is a rallying cry that Reverend Sheri Amore Dickerson has used for years to call on the Oklahoma Police for their disproportionate rate of police violence against black and brown residents of Sooner State.

“Our law enforcement agencies are militarized and constantly use brute force and there is a disparity between blacks and browns who fall victim to these situations,” Dickerson said.

The Lancet found that between 1980 and 2019, Oklahoma had the highest rate of murderous police violence in the country, and the finding is particularly alarming for black residents of the state, who account for 6 homicide victims per in 10 police despite black Americans. 7 percent of the population of Sooner State.

Dickerson is the executive director of the Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter Chapter. She also provides spiritual counseling to black families who have lost loved ones to the Oklahoma police.

In recent years, the state has seen a spate of police-related killings, including a 2016 incident involving Terence Crutcher, 40, an unarmed black man who was killed by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby after that his SUV stalled on a highway.

Crutcher’s murder drew national attention and protests, but Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter. In December 2020, Bennie Edwards, 60, was killed by police after allegedly indicting police with a knife before taking off and running away from the police, when Officer Clifford Holman shot Edwards in the back . Holman was then charged with manslaughter.

Dickerson says that a year before the murder of George Floyd took hold of the nation, in May 2019, a similar incident occurred in Oklahoma involving Derrick Scott, 42, who was arrested on the ground with his knee of an officer on the neck. “Sir. Scott said I can’t breathe, and he didn’t go to the hospital for treatment,” Dickerson said. The officers involved have not been charged with criminal charges.

In April 2019, 17-year-old Isaiah Lewis was killed by police after breaking into a house. As he fled from the police through a barren neighborhood, he was shot and killed. The subject officer has not been criminally charged.

While he’s not surprised to learn that Oklahoma has a proven and deadly reputation for getting into trouble with the police if you’re not white, Dickerson says that in addition to protesting, activists are trying other methods to create change. She is part of a task force made up of fellow activists, community members, clergy and law enforcement to tackle police violence in the state.

“We always try to get everyone involved, especially law enforcement, to recognize that there is a problem with police violence and some of the only times they even spoke was when the term violence has been used, they oppose it. saying it’s not violence, and I said that’s exactly what it is even if you look at the basic definition, ”she said.

Ending police violence and abolishing the death penalty has been the center of attention for Dickerson and the Black Lives Matter movement in this 74 percent white state. She knows it is essential to keep the issues that hurt Black, Brown and Indigenous communities at the forefront.

“Our main demand has been to stop killing ourselves and this is widespread in all forms of state-sanctioned violence, whether through interactions with law enforcement or the death penalty,” he said. she declared.

The Atlanta Black Star sought comment from the Oklahoma City Police Department, and the agency spokesperson said it was a municipality, and it would be “inappropriate to comment” on the report. Lancet and referred the ABS to the Oklahoma Association of Police Chiefs.

The ABS has solicited comments from the Oklahoma Association of Police Chiefs and the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police and has not heard from either body at the time of writing.

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