The history of hate crimes in Tulsa County

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Updated: 4/13/2012 1:24 pm Published: 4/12/2012 5:26 pm

The North Tulsa shootings that happened on Good Friday raised questions about the state’s hate crime laws.

In the hours before Jacob England and Alvin Watts randomly gunned down three people and injured two others, England posted racial slurs on Facebook about his father’s killer. 

Formal charges are pending and the District Attorney has not yet said if one of those charges will be a hate crime.

Court records show since 1999, there have been 11 hate crime cases prosecuted in Tulsa County and one dismissed.

The victims were people targeted by their race and religion. Those cases make it clear it’s a hate crime.

Those cases show that there is still a grey area in the North Tulsa shootings to prove it’s a hate crime.
"When you target a certain group of people or person and you single them out I consider that a hate crime,” said Nina Mays.

She was protesting in the Tulsa County courthouse plaza on Wednesday.

"I believe that is personally a hate crime,” said Mays.

The North Tulsa victims are all black. England is Native American and Watts told officials he was white.

England posted racial slurs on Facebook about his father’s killer just hours before the shootings.

"If I killed say five people of a different color they would come on me like a ton of bricks,” said Norman Jones.

A counter protester doesn’t agree and believes whites should also be protected.

"I am getting tired of people saying there was another hate crime, 'oh a white person on a black guy' but why not a black guy on a white guy a hate crime?" asked Mickey Staggs.

Staggs wants Tyrone Woodfork to be charged with a hate crime because he is accused of beating an elderly couple.

Nancy Strait, 85, later died of her injuries. Her 90-year-old husband, Bob, survived.

"I think if you beat someone to death and you are a different race that should be a hate crime,” said Staggs.

Woodfork was found in the Straits stolen car and police said he sold their television.

There has been no evidence yet, that Woodfork targeted the Straits because of their race; age is not protected under the hate crime law.

"You don't get a hate crime just because of the identity of the victims. You have to have some proof because of...." said University of Tulsa Professor of Law, Tamara Piety.

Race, religion, ethnicity, color, ancestry, national origin or disability is protected under Title 21, Chapter 30, Section 850.

"Hate crime we are working on background of historic discrimination,” said Piety.

Under Oklahoma law, a first offense hate crime is a misdemeanor.

The hate crimes filed in Tulsa County since 1999 include a pending case involving a father and his 14-year-old son beating up a 12-year-old boy because of his race.

Records show he calls the boy racial slurs and continues to beat on the boy.

Records show the father supports a White Supremacist group.

"When you have someone who belongs to a hate group or Klan then it makes your case easier,” said Piety.

Records also show the Islamic Society of Tulsa has been targeted. In one case a man sent a letter with pictures and videos of him burning a Quaran with pork on a BBQ.

Priscilla Galstaun who is Muslim says there’s no grey area for hate.

"A hate crime is a hate crime. Whether it is towards a race, ethnicity, religion towards a color. It doesn't matter it's still a hate crime,” said Galstaun.

She said she has never pesonally felt threatened but she knows her religion has been threatened and violence has been done.

"We talk about it, we don't ignore it,” said Galstaun.

Ahmed Abdelmonen who is a high school senior says it’s having patience.

"If someone comes to you with evil you should always propell with good,” said Abdelmonen.

Another case showed a man pepper sprayed a woman and yelled racial slurs during a road rage incident.

Broken Arrow policed arrested two brothers and someone else for beating a Hispanic father with a steal pip and a knife. While they did the beating they yelled racial slurs and threatened to kill his children.

So is what England and Watts did a hate crime?

"Most elements of a state if mind it's hard to prove. You have to look at the surrounding facts and try to infer from those facts a state of mind and that can be difficult,” said Piety.

But she said it’s not impossible to prove.

Watts and England have not been formally charged. Right now they face First-Degree Murder. The death penalty is on the table as a possibility.

In the past hate crime cases, court records show the suspects served a few months in jail, suspended or deferred sentence or only paid a fine.  

In some of the cases felony charges such as child abuse and assault were added to the case.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

aurthor - 5/11/2013 11:04 AM
0 Votes
This has to stop now!

kindagreywolf - 4/14/2012 2:47 AM
0 Votes
Hate Crime = When you can't convince a jury you did it out of love.

watchdog11 - 4/13/2012 9:45 PM
0 Votes
I believe this happened because Jake England had come unglued due to the jailing of his mom, his fathers death and his babies mom dying, he should have gotten help and none of this would have happened, do I think he shot blacks because a black killed his dad, yes, of course, to shoot anyone else wouldn't have allowed him to feel he had avenged his dads death, if a white person had killed his dad, the dead victims would have been white, if cops had killed his dad, the dead would be cops, he wanted someone to pay for his dad dying period, it was revenge, racist only because it happened to be a black man who took his dad from him. I think the beating death of Nancy Strait should be documented as a hate crime, this lady was white, she was blind and feeble, Tyrone Woodfork could have pushed both of these 80+ year olds down and robbed them, but instead he beat her mercilessly, it wasn't self defense, any crimminologist can tell you anytime someone spends that much time beating someone, it is out of hate, and it is personal, he could have robbed them without resistance, but the fact that he beat her so badly makes it a hate crime, since they didn't know each other previously, the only reason he could have hated her enough to beat her like that was because she was white. I would sign a petition to have this classified a hate crime, it needs to be done, it isn't right to hate anyone because of their race, and just as there are whites who hate blacks because they are black, there are blacks who hate whites because they are white, until it is evened up on both sides so everyone feels their life and the lives of their loved ones and friends is as valued as another, and justice is equal for all, it isn't going to stop.

JESUSfreak - 4/13/2012 9:09 PM
0 Votes
It is a black and white issue: We are called to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves, and to love others as Christ loves us. The opposite of LOVE is hate. Any action done without LOVE as the motive is hate. ANY murder or abuse of another human being is a hate crime. This is a diverse city; what's missing is the LOVE. It's very black and white.

averageperson - 4/13/2012 2:15 PM
0 Votes
It could just be me but I can easily see that the suspects are of two different races. One is probably white and the other is definitely Hispanic or Native American. I find it hard to believe this is a racial hate crime when two races team together to attack another. A racist usually hates all other races that are not his or her own. I feel that the so called Rev. is just chasing anything that he could possibly be bent into a hate crime, to fuel his own hidden agenda, whatever that may be. The amount of attention he is putting on this is going to persuade people to take revenge or fuel negative feelings that is going to set back the unity of races that has already accrued. The Rev. has to know that his action create a negative response and seems to thrive in the attention he gets when provoking negativity in others. The actions he pursues just fuels hate not GOD. May GOD have mercy on him when he gets there.

OFBD1 - 4/13/2012 10:19 AM
0 Votes
BILLMILLER=IDIOT ;)! Like watchdogs point and Jarhead u hit it right on the spot, that sounds good to me. I PEROSNALLY believe if Jake didnt put the racial slur on his FB page it wouldn't be such a racial thing. Just a young man that been thru ALOT here lately that snapped. BUT with that Slur its going to be looked upon as that. Thats MEDIA n Society for ya.

jarhead40 - 4/13/2012 5:23 AM
0 Votes
The problem is not that there are not crimes that should be prosecuted at a higher level due to the use of prejudice but it is in the way the crimes are framed as "hate" crimes in order to promote a political style agenda that create the discourse. Instead of "hate" crimes only being established for the so-called protective classes, how about establishing an across the board escalated charge of aggravated or aggravated plus for crimes that reach a level of malice because of a characteristic of the victim?

Alex72 - 4/13/2012 3:48 AM
1 Vote
Hey billmilleryes, there is a problem with your analogy! America, or the U.S. is not a white country, it has always been diverse! There were natuve americans,blacks were forced here, chinese for almost slave labor, the irish for the same, I could go on and on! You are actual going to use a word like genocide when between england, spain, france, etc., which are all european countries (white people) killed almost the entire native american population, countless slaves,etc.! Racist a code word, no racist is you! Non- white is code word for not having to realize how much of a ass you are! You shouldn't call yourself white, how about brown for the piece of crap you are!

terrified - 4/13/2012 3:20 AM
1 Vote
so i guess the white people needs to start protesting and threatening riots etc when a black person kills a white person "which would be all the time" or a white person kills a white person or a black person kills a black person? all this talk about racism it's because peoples words are took under the assumption and what the media calls it. People write stuff all the time on Facebook, that proves nothing. Do i think he targeted these individual, yes i do, but for what reason i do not know and no one else and these bible thumpers rev jj and his buddy is coming her to stir up riots, and everything else they can so they can get another moment on t.v.. this town is torn upside down over this but all this talk is going to lead it to something worse. should be talking about ways to heal all parties including the shooter for his pain and suffering from justice never being served. is killing others the answer no but why continue to bring up the past of hate crimes and b.s. words put thoughts in people heads,let try to put something good instead bad for a change

BillMillerYes - 4/13/2012 12:35 AM
1 Vote
Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY White country and ONLY into White countries. The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them. Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites. What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries? How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem? And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this? But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the White race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.
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