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Police Major Under Investigation For Citing Studies Which Suggest Police Racial Bias Doesn’t Exist

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Police Major Travis Yates, a law enforcement expert and book author, is under investigation by his police department after mainstream media labeled him a “racist” for quoting statistics that didn’t fit the systemic racism in policing narrative.

Major Yates outraged anti-police activists and media on June 8 when he quoted statistics to host Pat Campbell on Tulsa Public Radio.

The veteran Tulsa police major gave the interview to “Behind the Blue Line” as a law enforcement expert and a private citizen, not as a representative of police department.

During the interview, Major Yates talked about how the media has been lying to America about what really happened with George Floyd’s death during his arrest, and what’s going on with the investigation in Minneapolis.

He used the media reporting that forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden had done a second autopsy on Floyd as an example.

Baden proclaimed Floyd died from pressure applied to his neck despite the Hennepin County medical examiner’s preliminary report that said there was no physical evidence of asphyxiation or strangulation.

“Michael Baden didn’t do an autopsy,” Major Yates explained to the host, sounding outraged. “Michael Baden watched the video, got paid his money, and said what they needed him to say. So journalism is dead. They’re not looking at anything. They’re playing right into the narratives out there.”

The major told Tulsa Public Radio that he had been shredded by critics after another interview where he stated that the tactic former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin used in kneeling on Floyd’s neck was approved by Minneapolis Police Department policy.

He said that reporters had tried to make it sound as if he was arguing on behalf of the tactical move or supporting the officers involved in Floyd’s death, rather than just stating a fact – that the move then-Officer Chauvin used on May 25 was taught and approved by the department.

The veteran law enforcement officer said that the media has been ignoring facts and statistics that do not support the activists’ narrative that police officers nationwide are killing unarmed black men at an alarming rate.

Major Yates told Tulsa Public Radio that police departments do their best to weed out racist applicants during the hiring process, and that the data doesn’t exist to back up the narrative of systemic racism in policing.

The major pointed to research studies by Harvard University, the Manhattan Institute, and the National Academy of Sciences that has shown racism in policing doesn’t exist statistically.

“But the data says it doesn’t exist, and this is what they’re trying to say all these changes need to come from – this is why we’re protesting this is why we’re rioting – the systematic abuse of power and racism,” Major Yates told Tulsa Public Radio. “It just doesn’t exist. The academics say it doesn’t exist. The research says it doesn’t exist.”

He pointed to The Washington Post’s police shooting database and urged people to go check the statistics offered in that liberal publication if they didn’t believe him.

The major said that if police were shooting people based on behavior and not race, shootings of black and white unarmed men were about even – two percent for African Americans and three percent for whites.

He explained that the statistics and charts seen in memes that imply unarmed black men are being shot at a much higher rate than any other race are false, and again pointed to research studies.

“You have to come into contact with law enforcement for that to occur,” Major Yates said. “And so when you look at law enforcement contacts, if a certain group has committed more crimes – more violent crimes – and law enforcement’s having to come into more contact with them, then that number’s gonna be higher.”

The major said crime statistics do not mirror the percentages of each race in society.

“Why who in the world or in their right mind would think that shooting should be right along the U.S. Census lines?” he asked. “That’s just insanity, but everybody is just buying off on this.”

“And, by the way, all the research says — including Roland Fryer, an African American Harvard professor, Heather MacDonald, and the National Academy of Sciences, all of their research says we’re shooting African Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed,” the major said to make his point. “And this isn’t Travis talking – the research is sound but nobody’s watching it. They’re just looking at memes and losing their minds.”

The show’s host told stories of how anti-police groups have been trying for years to get Major Yates kicked off his show and asked who was targeting him currently.

Major Yates said he had received two death threats the prior weekend because he keeps giving out facts.

“I’m telling you facts, I’m telling you data, I’m telling you what the truth is,” the major said emphatically. “And this is dangerous to people who are trying to lie to the American public, right? And I’m an easy target because not a lot of people are doing it… I think the American public deserves to know the truth.”

He used the example of National Football League (NFL) quarterback Drew Brees, whom ESPN reported had to walk back his vow to “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America” after he was taken to task on social media by the likes of legendary Los Angeles Laker LeBron James, and said he had never expected to see the famous quarterback cave to pressure.

“Everybody’s running around scared they’re going to get cancelled, right? And so, yeah it would be easy for me to go off in my little corner and not say a word. But they’re destroying this country, Pat. And they’re destroying this profession. And if the people in Tulsa don’t think that affects them, they are sadly mistaken,” Major Yates continued.

He said the lie about racism in policing was going to affect the entire country and nobody was talking about it.

It didn’t take long for social media to explode about the major’s remark that statistically-speaking, police should be shooting more African Americans than they actually do.

But Major Yates isn’t apologizing and he hasn’t backed down.

He told The New York Times that his remarks were “talking about the data” from research done by other people.

“To think that, beyond a discussion of comparative statistics, that I would suggest that the ‘police should actually be shooting’ anyone is simply outrageous,” the major said.

But that is exactly what some local politicians are accusing him of, despite the context of his statement being apparent, and what put the police major in the crosshairs of activist groups and the mayor.

Even Tulsa Police Department appears to be willfully misinterpreting Major Yates’s statements on statistical data.

Tulsa Black Officers Coalition President and Tulsa Police Lieutenant Marcus Harper complained that it wasn’t the first time Major Yates had used “inflammatory” language while discussing race and policing, The New York Times reported.

“It seems like every so often, every time he opens his mouth, we are taking 10 steps forward and taking 100 steps back,” Lt. Harper said. “So now you have to ask yourself: Is he the voice of the Tulsa Police Department?”

Tulsa police released a statement on June 10 that slapped a big disclaimer on the major’s Tulsa Public Radio interview and announced an internal affairs investigation into the matter.

“We do not endorse, condone or support Yates’ comments made on the show,” the department said. “We want to make it clear the statements made by Yates are not a part of any curriculum or training provided by the department. Yates’ comments do not align with the mission, values or policies of the Tulsa Police.”

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum condemned the remarks made by the major on the radio show and demanded an apology later the same day, The New York Times reported.

“I want to believe he didn’t intend to say what he did, but what he did say goes against everything we are trying to achieve in community policing,” Bynum said. “If he didn’t mean to make the statement in the way it has been received, he owes Tulsans a clarification and an apology.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone

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