On Sunday afternoon when a pickup hauling a horse trailer drove through a crowd of protestors on Interstate 244 in Tulsa, video from the incident immediately began to appear online.
Protestors shared their videos on social media. A Tulsa World photographer who was next to the truck quickly uploaded pictures he took of the incident and aftermath.
But perhaps one of the clearest videos of what happened was shared by an undercover Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was apparently embedded in the protest.
The videos showed the pickup stopping as people stood in front of it, before the driver, a white male, placed a handgun on the vehicle’s dashboard, revved the engine, then drove through the crowd, injuring at least two people. Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sarah Stewart told The Frontier on Tuesday that the investigation into the incident was ongoing, but that no arrest had been made. Troopers spoke to the driver not long after he drove away from the scene on Sunday.
Protests began in Tulsa on Saturday following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd, who was black, was suspected of using a fake $20 bill and was arrested by Minneapolis police. Cell phone video shows officers pinning him to the ground, and one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, had his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Floyd died — one autopsy said his death was due to multiple complicating factors while another autopsy said he asphyxiated — and all four officers were fired. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder.
On Monday, during an interview on the Pat Campbell show, Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said the sheriff’s office “had video from a deputy who was there.”
“This individual (the driver) pulling the horse trailer was quite frankly legitimately scared when that individual took off,” Regalado told Campbell.
The Frontier received that video through an Open Records Request. It was shot from the north side of the bridge on a cell phone rather than a body camera worn by deputies who are in uniform.
It shows protestors allowing a silver car, driven by a black woman, to drive through the crowd before they again stop in front of the red pickup. The woman briefly exits the vehicle to yell at a white male protestor she said had grabbed her driver’s side door handle. After she gets back inside her vehicle, protestors begin to yell “Let her through,” and she drives away without incident.
Protestors then surround the red pickup, which at first is slowly moving forward toward three white male protestors, two of which begin to slam their fists on the hood of the pickup. The driver of the pickup continues to slowly move forward, which draws more protestors to stand in the way, as some others throw objects toward it.
This video was shot by a local journalist who shared it with The Frontier.
The driver of the truck accelerates and drives through the crowd, as several protestors attempt to latch onto the side of the truck and climb on the horse trailer. At no point in the video is the driver shown.
Casey Roebuck, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, told The Frontier that the deputy who shot the video was in plain clothes, and said she couldn’t “go into other details, other than to say he was the only deputy in the vicinity at the time that happened.”
Tulsa Police Department spokeswoman Jeanne Pierce told The Frontier she wouldn’t say if the department had its own officers embedded in any of the weekend’s protests.
“We actually don’t like to talk tactics,” she said. “We have visible elements on the scene, but the behind the scenes stuff is stuff that we don’t discuss publicly.
“It’s for the officers’ safety. We don’t want one of our officers getting hurt or injured because of us releasing tactical stuff.”
Protests on Saturday in Tulsa began in the trendy Brookside area, and on Sunday the protests started in downtown before thousands of ralliers headed onto I-244 and later south of downtown on Denver Avenue and onto Riverside Drive.
On Monday protestors stood outside Woodland Hills Mall near 71st Street and Memorial Drive. Those protests lasted until about 1 a.m. when police began shooting tear gas and pepper balls into the crowd. Businesses in the area reported damage, as did some Brookside businesses from the protests over the weekend.
One of the demands of the protestors was that Tulsa end its relationship with the popular but controversial LivePD television program. On Monday Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum announced that the contract between the city and the show would not be renewed.