Tulsa Police Chief Stands By Peaceful Protesters, Doesn't Condone Vandalism

TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said a rogue group of people vandalized several businesses after hours of peaceful protests on Sunday.

Police say several people broke windows, looted and lit dumpsters on fire.

Franklin said police have arrested three people so far.

He said police fully support peaceful protests, but he said they will not allow people to destroy property.

Chief Franklin said there have been ten businesses vandalized and police car windows smashed.

He said Tulsa Fire Department was called to 12 fires and several of those were dumpsters on fire.

Franklin said TPD met with organizers before the Black Lives Matter rally and created a plan to keep protesters safe.

Officers blocked off city streets throughout the city to allow people to march without having to worry about traffic.

TPD said the people who broke out windows and started fires were not part of the original group of protesters.

“I think late last night was a group of individuals who wanted to take advantage of what was taking place - a peaceful protest. They wanted to mask themselves and be a part of disruption and chaos,” said Franklin. 

Franklin said they have heard plans of other protests.

He said he encourages everyone's first amendment right to assemble but does not condone vandalism.

Franklin said he wants Tulsa to set an example to the rest of the country about how to hand this situation the right way.

"Obviously we don't want any unrest. We don't want anyone to stir the pot. We stand ready,” said Franklin.

Police say they are looking at surveillance video to identify more vandals.