Man claims harassment in vi­ral video

TPD chief says en­counter ‘grossly mis­rep­re­sented’ with no in­di­ca­tions of racial bias

Tulsa World - - FRONT PAGE - By Harrison Grim­wood

A lo­cal ac­tivist group and a Tulsa res­i­dent voiced con­cerns Wed­nes­day over what they say was harassment and pro­fil­ing of the man as he ap­peared on the A&E pro­gram “Live PD.”

Tulsa Po­lice Chief Chuck Jor­dan is­sued a state­ment later in the day say­ing the en­counter was “grossly mis­rep­re­sented” and that “there were no in­di­ca­tions of racial bias

or harassment dur­ing the en­counter.”

Randy J. Wal­lace, 39, said the Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment’s Gang Unit made con­tact with him twice, dur­ing which time they ac­cused him of hav­ing gang af­fil­i­a­tions. The A&E film crew, flanked by the Gang Unit, con­fronted Wal­lace an­other three to four times to get him to sign a re­lease al­low­ing un­cen­sored use of the video footage, Wal­lace said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

“The film crew lured me out of my house, and the gang task force was there,” Wal­lace said. “It scared me.”

Wal­lace even­tu­ally re­lented, agree­ing to sign the doc­u­ment for a pay­ment of $40.

Wal­lace recorded on his cell­phone one of his en­coun­ters with the Gang Unit, where he asked about the disclaimer. An of­fi­cer told him it was for A&E to use his im­age and like­ness on tele­vi­sion.

“The only guys that don’t sign them are guilty,” an of­fi­cer ap­par­ently says in Wal­lace’s video.

But Jor­dan, in a state­ment re­leased Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, said, “The en­tire en­counter be­tween Wal­lace and (Gang Unit) Sgt. (Sean) Larkin was grossly mis­rep­re­sented.

“The en­counter was a ca­sual con­tact ini­ti­ated by Larkin who did not ex­hibit an ag­gres­sive en­force­ment style pos­ture and in fact re­mained seated in his ve­hi­cle,” Jor­dan said.

“His only state­ment to the in­di­vid­u­als by a car with the trunk open was ‘ What’s in the trunk guys?’ The other in­di­vid­ual with Wal­lace chose to walk away as Wal­lace could have also done. He was in no way de­tained and was free to leave. Once Wal­lace went into his rant, Larkin at­tempted to de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion to no avail and ul­ti­mately ended the en­counter and drove away.

“There were no in­di­ca­tions of racial bias or harassment dur­ing the en­counter,” Jor­dan said.

“In Wal­lace’s own video from ear­lier, the of­fi­cers talk­ing to Wal­lace af­ter he ap­proached them were cour­te­ous and re­spect­ful,” the chief said.

“The as­ser­tion that of­fi­cers were paid by Live PD is ab­surd and patently false. The only per­son paid by the pro­duc­tion com­pany was Wal­lace who de­manded $40 to sign the re­lease so that they could use him in the video.

“Mr. Wal­lace’s own video that he played at the press con­fer­ence con­firmed that Larkin told him that they had noth­ing to do with any con­tracts and that he should talk to the cam­era crew,” Jor­dan said.

Lo­cal ac­tivist group We the Peo­ple Ok­la­homa hosted the news con­fer­ence to dis­cuss a video of Wal­lace’s “Live PD” ap­pear­ance that went vi­ral, de­pict­ing him and a Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cer in a heated dis­cus­sion about gang af­fil­i­a­tion.

The video, shared on Face­book, was a “Live PD” viewer’s hand­held record­ing of the en­counter. The of­fi­cer al­leges that the man in the video is “dress­ing in gang col­ors.”

“I ain’t no f---- — gang mem­ber,” Wal­lace said. “And don’t ac­cuse me as one.”

News broke ear­lier this week that Jor­dan de­clined to re­new the Po­lice De­part­ment’s con­tract with the show be­cause “it was not in the best in­ter­est of the de­part­ment,” spokesman Le­land Ash­ley said.

Marq Lewis, leader of We The Peo­ple Ok­la­homa, said the group wants to re­view the con­tract and the of­fi­cers’ in­ter­ac­tions with Wal­lace. Lewis said they in­tend to file a com­plaint with Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment “to al­low In­ter­nal Af­fairs to look at what hap­pened.”

“The cit­i­zens should not be on dis­play for en­ter­tain­ment,” Lewis said.

Jor­dan said in his state­ment Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon: “I am ap­proached reg­u­larly by north Tulsa cit­i­zens who wish to air con­cerns and im­prove re­la­tion­ships in the com­mu­nity. In other words, to find solutions.

“Mr. Lewis does not choose to con­tact me or the In­ter­nal Af­fairs Unit to ex­press con­cerns,” he said.

Lewis, con­tacted Wed­nes­day evening af­ter Jor­dan’s state­ment was re­leased, said he plans to con­tact the Po­lice De­part­ment about fil­ing a com­plaint.

“We wanted to make sure the (pub­lic) au­di­ence was able to hear his (Wal­lace’s) side of the story,” he said.

In the “Live PD” re­al­ity show, crews have shad­owed po­lice de­part­ments around the coun­try, in­clud­ing the Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment’s Gang Unit.

Lewis said the em­pha­sis placed on Wal­lace and his sig­na­ture on the re­lease raised con­cerns that the Gang Unit had turned too much at­ten­tion away from gangs.

Dur­ing the news con­fer­ence, Wal­lace ac­knowl­edged hav­ing pre­vi­ous non­vi­o­lent felony con­vic­tions. Ac­cord­ing to on­line records from the Ok­la­homa De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions, all of Wal­lace’s con­vic­tions were drug-re­lated.

“The po­lice of­fi­cers have ac­cused me of be­ing gang af­fil­i­ated,” Wal­lace said. “I’ve never been con­victed of any gang af­fil­i­a­tion, ... of any vi­o­lent crimes.”

Sgt. Shane Tuell, a spokesman for the Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment, said Wed­nes­day morn­ing be­fore the news con­fer­ence that po­lice can­not pub­licly say whether some­one has known or sus­pected gang in­volve­ment.

MIKE SI­MONS/Tulsa World

Randy Wal­lace, who was on the A&E show “Live PD,” speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day. Watch a video of a news con­fer­ence from We the Peo­ple Ok­la­homa con­cern­ing the Tulsa Po­lice De­part­ment’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the A&E pro­gram “Live PD.”

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