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Tulsa police slammed after video shows handcuffing of 2 black teens for jaywalking

The city's mayor said, “No Tulsa kid should have to fear being tackled and cuffed for walking down the street.”
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Tulsa police released video footage this week of two black teens getting handcuffed, and one of them taken into custody, for jaywalking, sparking criticism of the incident from the city's mayor and the head of a coalition of black officers.

The release of the video came after community criticism of the June 4 incident, which police said is under investigation.

The footage shows two black teens walking down the middle of an empty street when at least two police officers confront them.

The officers approach the boys, whose names were not released to the public, and begin to handcuff one of them, the footage shows. An officer appears to tackle the boy and aggressively pin him down with his knees, as the other boy, who says the two are cousins, questions the tactic.

“Why are you putting your hands on him?” the second boy asks the officers, saying he and the other teen have nothing on them and that they were just walking.

"You were jaywalking," one of the officers says.

The officers also handcuff the second teen.

As the footage continues, the first boy handcuffed calls the officers racist, and says, “You want to see me in jail or dead.” He also references George Floyd at one point, saying he can’t breathe himself and that the officers are choking him, yelling, “Call my mama.”

The officers try to put the first teen into a police car, and he resists. At one point an officer tells the boy, "Don't head-butt me again."

A bystander, who is black, sees the arrest and asks the officers what’s happening, saying the two were just walking and asks the officer if his body camera is on, the footage shows.

One of the officers tells the man he doesn’t know the full story and threatens to arrest him as well.

“You're standing in the middle of the street, you want to go with them?” the officer says.

Eventually, the officers put the first teenager into a squad car, and let the other boy go, telling him to stop jaywalking.

It is unclear if either of the two teens faces charges.

Police said they released the footage to be transparent.

"Over the weekend we received a few messages through our social media page about an arrest that was made involving 2 juveniles this last week," the department said in a press release, according to Tulsa World. "We were able to find the arrest illustrated in the citizen’s video and locate the officer’s videos from their body cameras.

Tulsa police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

NBC Tulsa affiliate KJRH reported that the department is not providing further comment at this time.

Tulsa's mayor, G.T. Bynum, weighed in on the incident on Wednesday, saying on Facebook, “I want every kid in Tulsa to feel safe to walk down the street in their neighborhood."

He continued, "I know the officers in that unit focus on removal of illegal guns from the streets, but the goal of that work should be that families feel safe in their neighborhood. This instance accomplished the opposite."

The mayor said he is talking to the police about the incident and their tactics.

“We can do better,” he wrote.

The president of the Tulsa Black Officers Coalition, police Lt. Marcus Harper, said at a news conference of the incident, "Here’s the reality of it: That is the culture of policing."

Harper said the handcuffing and arrest occurred in his neighborhood.

"The issue is, 'Are you policing other communities the exact same way?'"

The answer is no, he said, "It is not happening in other parts of town."