Updated: Local and national activists rallied Tuesday in Tulsa to support Tulsa Police Captain Paul Fields. However, by both broadcast and print report, the media mangled the message so thoroughly as to make even a casual observer question why the two competing groups don’t just debate the facts.
Fields refused to attend or to order his men to attend an event promoted by the Al Salam Mosque in March. Fields was suspended for two weeks without pay in June for disobedience and for violating a rule on “conduct unbecoming an officer.” Fields has filed a federal lawsuit on First Amendment grounds. The lawsuit is pending.
One event organizer Don Wyatt, said today, “The important substance of yesterday’s rally was the public support for and defense of the central Constitutional principles that were violated in the episode with Captain Fields.
“By the hour and day selected and the invitation; it was a worship event, a teaching if not an indoctrination event. We would not expect Tulsa Police to be coerced or compelled to attend a Catholic Mass on Sunday morning or a Jewish Synagogue on Saturday or a Muslim Mosque on Friday night – a holy time for Muslims to attend services. It was not an after-hours event Captain Fields declined.
“The use of the word hate by the opposing demonstrators is a deliberate disingenuous deflection from the real issue. That is a typical tactic of Marxists and others who wish to undermine the principles of the Constitution of the United States. They choose to totally ignore the fundamental principles involved, refuse to discuss those issues, not to rebut or debate any facts we provided, but instead they engage in vicious personal attacks. It was an obvious and deliberate effort to demean those of us that were participating,” Wyatt said.
“We would absolutely, enthusiastically and with complete commitment meet to debate this issue with those that protested against our rally for Captain Fields, but from past experience, we doubt that they would accept such an opportunity to meet in a civilized way,” Wyatt added.
Organizer Cris Kurtz said today, “I felt like media provided misrepresentative coverage – slanted to a great degree. We were supporting Captain Fields not hating on anyone for any reason. Our demonstration had nothing to do with anyone’s religion; we took our time to rally in support of Constitutional liberty – specifically the First Amendment which I have always thought the local media supported.”
The rally was held not at City Hall as was reported, but at the H.A. Chapman Centennial Green at Sixth and Main Street. There the group prayed and pledged allegiance to the flag and several speakers addressed the crowd including State Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore and State Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee who has also announced for the U.S. House of Representatives in Oklahoma’s 2nd District.
Guy Rodgers, executive director of ACT! For America, a national group based in Florida said his group was working with local organizers to urge the city to reinstate Captain Fields lost pay and position and to clear his record.
From the Centennial Green the group walked 7 blocks to City Hall, presented a petition in support of Captain Fields with approximately 53,000 signatures then departed. No speakers or any other event was held at City Hall.
Wyatt said he had requested uniform officers from both the Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa County Sheriff’s office, but they declined.
The primary protest against the supporters of Captain Fields appeared at City Hall.
The daily newspaper quoted Ray Hickman, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Executive Director, saying “We wanted to demonstrate silent solidarity … to clear the city of bigotry and intolerance.”
With uniform pre-printed signs mostly “Say No to Hate,” the group blocked the entrance to City Hall.
Shirley Kirk was quoted saying, “I hate these evangelical Christians’ hate and fanaticism. I don’t want to live in a society that discriminates against any group.” She was the only “hater” that spoke – from the Say No to Hate Coalition – to be clear.
Mana Tahaie, Director of Racial Justice for the YWCA, helped organize the Say No to Hate Coalition and was quoted saying the rally was to “gin up Islamophobia” rather than support Captain Fields, but there was no evidence of truth in that charge. No speaker expressed disapproval of Islam at the Centennial Green rally.
Tahaie promised that “Say No to Hate” would respond whenever incidents of hate come up in the community which begs the question of how supporter, Shirley Kirk, could be so hateful.
Another organizer Ronda Vuillemont-Smith said, “I don’t really know why they were protesting our rally in support Captain Fields. They try to make something bad out of a good rally to support individual liberty. Apparently, political correctness is run amok in Tulsa.”
Tulsan Andrew Paley, of Jewish faith told this reporter, “That is what the Left does. They lie. They accuse others of doing what they do. They are here to destroy the Constitution because it is the only thing that protects Americans from slavery and mass murder.
“I was raised in Stalinist Poland and in East Germany,” Paley said. “I know what Liberals are all about. They are Progressives now, but in the ‘40s they were Communists. They want to transform America even in Tulsa.”