June 10, 2020

Tulsa police major speaks after controversial radio show


The Tulsa Police Department is now investigating a TPD major after he made comments on a Tulsa radio show.

Photo of Tulsa Police Major Travis Yates (Courtesy: SAFETAC)

Police officials said on Wednesday that they’re looking into comments made by Major Travis Yates, when he was talking with local radio host, Pat Campbell.

Yates said he wasn’t sharing his own opinion, but rather citing sources when he told Campbell that, “police are shooting African Americans about 24 percent less than we ought to be, based on the crimes being committed.

Yates comments have caused a stir online and around the country.

“Are you a racist?” asked KTUL Reporter, Maureen Wurtz.

“Nah, that’s ridiculous,” said Yates. “We’ve weaponized that word. Alright, if we don’t like somebody, we use that word.”

Yates said he wasn’t sharing an opinion, but rather referencing research.

“Are you saying that African Americans aren’t being shot enough?” asked Wurtz.

“That is absolutely nuts. I’m amazed that anybody would even ponder that,” said Yates. “That’s crazy. I was citing data, that said they’re underrepresented in that data. And so, I don’t want anybody to be shot. Nobody does, but the data that most people are believing, there is alternative data out there and that’s the data I was citing.”

“He said what he said,” said TPD Sgt. Marcus Harper. “He’s a grown man. He said what he said and he meant what he said. It’s like he’s trying to appease a certain audience and that audience is the law enforcement community.”

Harper is with the Black Officers Coalition and said even though Yates made the statements as a private citizen, they impact the police department.

“This is something that’s been going on over time and what can you say to him when he’s exercising his first amendment rights,” said Harper.

It’s not the first time Yates has made comments that caused a stir. 

Major Travis Yates, who was with the Gilcrease Division, is one of five division commanders who was moved Thursday. Last Sunday, Yates wrote an online essay about the Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings. (KTUL)

In 2016, he was reassigned within TPD after he said law enforcement was at war. 

Yates said he made that statement after the police shootings in Dallas and Louisiana.

“No one is attacking me whether I’m saying whether it’s true or not, the time I said there was a war against law enforcement, there were nine officers in the country that had been assassinated,” said Yates.

Tulsa Mayor, GT Bynum, posted on Facebook Wednesday. Bynum wrote that he wasn’t sure about Yates’ intentions, but that he owes Tulsans a clarification and an apology.

“Do you feel that you owe people an apology?” asked Wurtz.

“I’m not going to apologize, because what I said, was accurate based on the data.” said Yates. “I cited the data, I cited the data, said it’s not me, it’s the data. I know we live in an era where everyone apologizes, but quite frankly, my apology isn’t going to make anything go away.”

Tulsa police released a statement Wednesday that said in part, “we want to make it clear the statements made by Yates are not part of any curriculum or training provided by the Department. Yates’ comments to not align with the mission, values, or policies of the Tulsa Police Department.”

By Maureen Wurtz

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