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July 19, 2016   OKLAHOMA CITY  — On Monday, July 18, Oklahoma City Chief of Police Bill Citty approved the use of personal rifles by members of the Oklahoma City Police Department in addition to their standard arsenal of lethal and non-lethal weapons.  The following statement should be attributed to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma in response to Chief Citty’s action. “Increasing the armament of Oklahoma City Police Department officers to allow carrying personal rifles on neighborhood beats will increase the tension between the public and law enforcement. In the absence of a clear departmental policy, this changeRead More →

  July 14, 2016   OKLAHOMA CITY – Following the release of video and eyewitness accounts of the arrest of Black Lives Matter protester, Brandon “Donny” Lara, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is calling for an independent investigation of the arrest. “This arrest is troubling and probably unconstitutional,” said Brady Henderson, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director. “We’ve reviewed video footage of the arrest and find it wildly inconsistent with the arresting police officer’s sworn affidavit. The arresting officer does not appear to have been truthful about the cause of arrest, nor does the officer’s affidavit include sufficient allegations to support the charges made againstRead More →

July 8, 2016 OKLAHOMA CITY – Following the tragic deaths this week of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the hundreds of other recent killings of  black Americans, Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, OKC Artists for Justice, NAACP OKC, the MLK Coalition, and the ACLU of Oklahoma will conduct a peaceful protest and memorial vigil in solidarity with the impacted families and communities. This peaceful gathering will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10, downtown Oklahoma City. The event will feature a march, speakers, music, poetry, and an opportunity for communities to come together and mourn the loss of those who were killed. An exact locationRead More →

“We are very pleased by Gov. Mary Fallin’s order which puts a stop to the state’s new ERAD card reader asset seizure program. The governor did the right thing.  Once the story became public, and once we at ACLU of Oklahoma had the opportunity to review and analyze the ERAD contract, it became apparent that this new ‘tool’ would cause far more problems than it would solve. We’re pleased that the program has been placed on ice and that a small victory has been won in our ongoing battle to protect property rights on our roadways.   It’s also important to note that Oklahomans mightRead More →

5questions

Recently, the Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol have come under fire because of their ERAD card reader program. On June 17, Gov. Mary Fallin asked DPS Commission Michael Thompson to stop the program until better policies could be developed. However, even with the suspension of the program, the standards of probable cause and reasonable suspicion remain. “Oklahomans should fully understand just what ‘reasonable suspicion’ and ‘probable cause’ mean,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. “It’s a pretty low bar.” Because those standards often come into play during a seizure action, the ACLU of OklahomaRead More →

ERAD

OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety sought access to peoples’ bank account and bank routing numbers as they negotiated a contract for a controversial debit card reader program, records obtained by the ACLU of Oklahoma show. In addition, other documents show that ERAD touted its relationship with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office and listed a controversial Illinois law enforcement official who was heavily involved in the Desert Snow/Black Asphalt firms as a reference for the program. The information comes to light at the same time public safety officials held a press conference to talk about what they said wasRead More →

St.Cap

OKLAHOMA CITY – Mostly, it was a ‘bad news’ kind of session. Though the Second Regular Session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature did produce a handful of good bills, Oklahoma’s legislature left most Oklahomans in a worse position than before session began, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma said. During the 2016 session state lawmakers “spent an embarrassing amount of time and energy trying to pass legislation that targeted Oklahoma’s LGBT community and attempting to criminalize women’s reproductive choices, instead of focusing on the state’s $1.3 billion budget hole,” ACLU of Oklahoma leader Ryan Kiesel said. “In reality, the sessionRead More →