Oklahoma police major says cops are shooting blacks 'much less than they probably ought to be'
Travis Yates criticized the George Floyd protests and suggested that systemic racism and police brutality against African-Americans doesn't exist
TULSA, OKLAHOMA: An Oklahoma Police Major has been criticized for suggesting that systemic racism against African-Americans in policing does not exist, and that, if anything, they are shooting black people "less than we probably ought to."
Tulsa Police Department Major Travis Yates made the comments while speaking to radio host Pat Campbell on his podcast, and said that, according to his interpretation of crime data, police should be shooting African-Americans more often.
"You get this meme of, 'Blacks are shot two times, two and a half times more' and everybody just goes, 'Oh, yeah,'" he said. "They're not making sense here. You have to come into contact with law enforcement for that to occur."
"If a certain group is committing more crimes, more violent crimes, and law enforcement's having to come into more contact with them, that number is going to be higher," he continued. "Who in the world in their right mind would think that our shootings should be right along the U.S. Census lines? That's insanity."
"All of the research says we're shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed."
Yates' comments came in the wake of hundreds of thousands of Americans taking to the streets in protest against police brutality and racial inequality following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American truck driver, had died in police custody after four Minneapolis police officers confronted him over a counterfeit $20 bill. In a heartbreaking video that has now been viewed millions of times, he could be seen begging for his life, gasping, 'I can't breathe,' and calling for his mother as officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for close to nine minutes.
His death later that evening proved to be the spark that ignited widespread protests, which Yates condemned.
"The officer was arrested the next day," he argued. "They were prosecuted, they were fired. What are you doing? What do you mean, 'justice'? Justice at this point has been done."
"Well, then it turned into systematic racism, systematic police brutality," he continued. "This is what they're trying to say that all these changes need to come from: this is why we're protesting, this is why we're rioting. Because of systematic abuse of power and racism. That just doesn't exist."
He went on to allege that journalists and a certain group stood to profit from lying about the police and these protests. "Because of this money, because of the marketing, because of the slick steps they've done, they've made regular Americans believe that cops are just hunting blacks down the street and killing them," he said. "It is so mind-boggling to me, that it is so over-the-top. It's not happening, but everyone believes that it is happening."
Yates' comments have caused quite the stir, though TPD Capt. Richard Meulenberg said Tuesday, June 9 afternoon Chief Wendell Franklin was not yet aware of the Major's remarks.
"Everybody's got a right to their opinion," Meulenberg said. "Obviously, he being a Major with the Tulsa Police Department, it carries some weight that he has his opinion, and we'll have to just kind of go through this. I mean, I can't speak upon the thing that he talked about here because I don't have the data. I can't refute or substantiate what it is that he said here."