“the right of the people peaceably to assemble,”

“the right of the people peaceably to assemble,”

Three weeks ago I posted about the breaking “pay to play deputy” scandal which has embroiled the Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz and his department.  Since then undersheriff Tim Albin has resigned, reserve deputy Robert Bates has been allowed to go on vacation to the Bahamas despite facing charges of second degree manslaughter, Sheriff Stanley Glanz had stated although he will not resign that he will not seek reelection and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett is asking pointed questions regarding the use of some $700,000.00 of the jail operating fund to pay attorney’s fees from several law firms that defended Sheriff’s Office officials in federal civil suits amongst other things.  Is it just me or does most of the above not sound right in terms of being moral, legal or ethical?

It certain does not strike a motivated group of activist citizens as being on the right side of morality or ethics and they are using the appropriate legal channel for redress.  Marq Lewis, spokesman of We The People Oklahoma, has filed a petition for a grand jury investigation in an effort to remove Sheriff Glanz from office.  Wednesday evening they held a march from the Blue Dome district to the Sheriff’s Department.

BlueDomeMural

There were several local politicians, clergy and ordinary citizens on hand to provide their views on the wrongful death of Eric Harris and the conditions within the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department that led to the tragedy.

MarqLewis

Organizer Marq Lewis

StateSenKevinMatthews&Mr.Harris

State Senator Kevin Mathews (right) and Eric Harris’ brother (left)

JudyEasonMcIntyre

Former state senator Judy Eason McIntyre

RevMarlinLavanhar

Rev. Marlin Lananhar of All Souls Unitarian Church

RevGeraldDavis

Rev. Gerald Davis of Church of the Restoration

The action started by Marq Lewis was a true demonstration of petitioning the government for redress of grievance.   Wednesday evening’s march was a visible right of peaceable assembly.  Those are two of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment.  Mr. Lewis led the peaceful protest procession down to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff'sDeptMarch

This was a peaceful demonstration of citizens demanding accountability of how a county law enforcement agency does business and treats the people subject to its policing practices.

Accountability

It was a beautiful evening for a walk downtown despite a few raindrops and a few wind gusts.  The rainbow over downtown provided a fitting finish!

Sheriff'sDeptMarchRainbow

This story is still evolving.  In spite of that it is always a refreshment to see constitutional rights being actively exercised as they were Wednesday evening.  In spite of all the bad happening in Oklahoma and in America in general, seeing this on Wednesday evening gave me a lot of hope and made me proud to be associated with so many of the participants who are genuinely demanding not only answers but action where it is badly needed.