Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Tulsa – upset about action taken against Tulsa Police Captain, Paul Fields, who was suspended for two weeks in June for refusing an order to send his officers to a law enforcement appreciation day at a local mosque.
Paul Fields disobeyed an order to send officers to a law enforcement appreciation event at the Al Salam Mosque in Tulsa. For that infraction, Fields was suspended for two weeks.
Tuesday’s rally was organized by the group Act! for America. Guy Rodgers is the organization’s Executive Director. He has a message for Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Police Chief Chuck Jordan: “Before you lose in court do the right thing now and show the people of Tulsa that you’re listening to them.”
Rodgers argued “This is all about respect for the constitution, respect for the rule of law, and it’s about respect for the rights of a law enforcement officer who was given an unlawful order.”
Those attending a counter-rally would probably beg to differ. Said one woman wearing a Say No to Hate t-shirt: “I think it’s amazing that so many Oklahomans that purport that they are Christians, have such hate in their hearts.” Mana Tahaie is Director of Racial Justice at the YWCA and a member of Tulsa’s Say No to Hate Coalition: “We know that Act for America is very strategic about using opportunities in communities to gin up Islamophobia.”
Last winter Fields was told by his superiors to send some of his officers to an open house at the mosque. He responded by saying he felt the order was unlawful and was against his personal religious beliefs.
After the rally, Rodgers delivered the ACT! for America petition, signed by over 53,000 people, to Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Rodgers’ message at the rally was straightforward: Captain Fields was given an unlawful order to attend a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” that included observing the local mosque’s Friday prayers and attending a class in Islamic doctrines—an order that violated his constitutional rights.