Tulsa, OK – The only black member of the Tulsa City Council has claimed that her police sergeant husband is being retaliated against by the Tulsa Police Department for challenging a white supremacist system.
Tulsa City Councilor Valerie Hall-Harper said that her husband, Tulsa Police Sergeant Marcus Harper, has been targeted for positions he has taken as president of the Black Officer’s Coalition, and because she has clashed with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in the past, KOTV-DT reported.
Sgt. Harper was recently named in an investigation of an incident that occurred at the home of Tulsa County District Judge Sharon Holmes, according to Tulsa World.
Officers responded to a 911 call at the judge’s home at about 8 p.m. on March 2.
When officers arrived at the judge’s home, they found the Holmes lying in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor.
Sgt. Harper then arrived on the scene, off-duty and wearing plain clothes, and started giving orders.
He had been summoned to the judge’s home by her daughter, Adrienne Smith, KFAQ reported.
Sources told Blue Lives Matter that Smith and Sgt. Harper are close friends, and that she refers to him as her “uncle.”
Holmes had sustained a knife wound to the back of her left calf, and seriously broken an ankle, KOTV-DT reported.
Smith told officers that she had been arguing with her mother and went into another room.
When she returned to the kitchen, Smith told officers she found her mother on the floor with a knife in her leg.
Tulsa Police Officer Scott Scepanski, an eight-year veteran of the department, wrote in the report that Sgt. Harper told him to write the incident up as an “accidental injury,” but the content of the report made it clear that Officer Scepanski thought the incident was anything but accidental.
“There was a large amount of blood on the ground where she was laying, blood spatter on the bottom kitchen cabinets, and more blood pooled on the ground around the north side of the island counter top,” the officer wrote in the report, according to The Frontier. “There was a large kitchen knife in the sink that appeared to have blood on the blade, and the water was running from the tap in the sink.”
Officer Scepanski noted that Smith told him multiple times that the marks on her mother’s face were from when she had needed to slap Holmes awake while they were waiting for help to arrive.
Smith was also “very concerned” that police be aware that her fingerprints were on the knife “since she pulled it from Ms. Holmes’ leg,” the officer wrote in the report, The Frontier reported.
“[Holmes’ daughter] was very emotional and her emotions appeared to be cycling,” Officer Scepanski wrote. “She would go from screaming at officers asking if her mother was dead to being fairly calm and cooperative. She would then accuse officers of treating her as a suspect. She would bounce back and forth frequently and without warning.”
A week after the attack, Holmes named her daughter as her attacker, KOTV-DT reported.
Police have not yet released any bodycam video from the incident.
The judge remains hospitalized, police said.
Smith was charged with domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and police launched an internal investigation into Sgt. Harper’s instructions to file the report as an “accidental injury,” despite numerous indications to the contrary.
Tulsa Police Sergeant Shane Tuell confirmed the case had been reclassified to domestic violence, but said he could not comment on any individual officer’s role because of an internal affairs investigation, Tulsa World reported.
“We cannot specifically address the details of any internal investigation,” Sgt. Tuell said. “However, if we have an allegation of any misconduct by an officer we must look into that allegation to either prove or disprove the allegation.”
The FOP likewise has refused to comment on an ongoing investigation, Tulsa World reported.
“However, an allegation has been made of possible improper action by a Tulsa Police supervisor that is also an FOP member,” FOP Lodge 93 President Mark Secrist said. “The FOP will work tirelessly to make sure all of our members receive due process and are treated fairly."
“The FOP works to ensure justice is served in every case involving one of our members,” Secrist said.
Tulsa PD’s general orders prohibit officers from being involved in investigations involving family or friends. And they’re not supposed to involve themselves in police action off-duty unless it’s a matter of life and death, KFAQ reported.
But Hall-Harper said her husband has done nothing wrong, and the FOP is angry at her for positions she took after the acquittal of former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who fatally shot Terence Crutcher.
Crutcher was the twin brother of one of Hall-Harper’s sorority sisters, and the cousin of one of her co-workers, according to The Black Wall Street Times.
In the wake of the jury’s verdict, Hall-Harper referred to Tulsa PD as “crooked a$$ cops” in a Facebook comment that made her the subject of derision for Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton and the FOP.
Hall-Harper told Tulsa World that it’s because of that history with the FOP, and her husband’s recent support of the creation of an Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) for the police department, that Sgt. Harper is being targeted in the Holmes investigation.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed the creation of an OIM to review the police department’s use-of-force incidents, to improve outreach, and to recommend policies, Tulsa World reported.
Sgt. Harper wrote a letter in support of OIM on behalf of the Black Officer’s Coalition despite the fact that the FOP was threatening to sue the city if they attempted to implement the OIM without FOP input.
"It's no surprise that my husband is being target [sic] for challenging and pushing for a better Tulsa," Hall-Harper wrote in statement posted to Facebook. "Unfortunately, everyone isn't ready for change and pushing for the kind of change that we need regarding law enforcement in Tulsa, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. However, when you do, it ends in retribution. Historically, whenever black people challenge the system of white supremacy retribution is a given."
She said the FOP was using the Holmes investigation of a possible domestic violence incident as an opportunity to push their own agenda and smear her husband’s reputation.
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan responded to Hall-Harper’s allegations and said the investigation of the case had nothing to do with the FOP, KOTV-DT reported.
"Hall-Harper's unfounded accusations have no basis in fact and will not deter TPD from investigating the facts of the incident,” Chief Jordan said.
Tulsa FOP issued a statement that said their organization supported the police chief’s assessment of the situation, KOTV-DT reported.
Police sources told Blue Lives Matter that Sgt. Harper was not being singled out in a negative way by the police department. They said if anything, he’s getting special privileges.
“He works a specialty assignment, he drives the nicest car in his unit - this guy is protected! And here’s his wife going all conspiracy theory,” one source said.