Four people facing only misdemeanor charges were booked into the Tulsa County Jail on Tuesday.
Publicly available jail records show the names of the accused along with their mugshots, dates of birth and information about their cases.
Although he was charged with two misdemeanor crimes Tuesday, former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz wasn’t among those listed on the jail blotter.
It’s just the latest example of continuing favoritism shown to the former sheriff and his longtime friend, Robert Bates, at the courthouse.
Glanz appeared before District Judge Rebecca Nightingale Tuesday afternoon for an important formality in his case: A special prosecutor dismissed two grand jury indictments against the former sheriff and announced the filing of two misdemeanor counts.
When a grand jury issues an indictment — as it did against Glanz on Sept. 30 — the indictment is later dismissed and prosecutors file a formal charge in its place.
One misdemeanor count alleges Glanz willfully violated state law when he collected a $600 monthly car reimbursement and continued to drive county vehicles. The second misdemeanor alleges Glanz refused to perform his official duty when he ordered employees to withhold a 2009 internal affairs report detailing favoritism shown to Bates as a reserve deputy.
Bates, the former sheriff’s campaign manager and longtime friend, was charged earlier this year with second-degree manslaughter after he shot and killed an unarmed man, Eric Harris, during a sting operation. Bates, 74, was serving on an undercover drug task force and the fallout over the shooting led to reports of widespread problems in the sheriff’s office, including the reserve program.
Interestingly, several former top officials under Glanz who were either fired or forced to resign during the fallout over Harris’ shooting are listed as witnesses against Glanz. They include former Maj. Shannon Clark, Maj. Tom Huckeby, Capt. Billy McKelvey and Undersheriff Tim Albin.
During Glanz’s hearing Tuesday, Nightingale ordered the former sheriff to return to court Jan. 20 and released him on his own recognizance.
Okmulgee County District Attorney Rob Barris, who is handling the prosecution, quickly left the courtroom. Neither Barris nor an assistant Washington County prosecutor also assigned to the case, Kevin Buchanan, would say why Glanz was allowed to skip the booking process.
After the hearing, Marq Lewis, founder of We The People Oklahoma, said Barris told attorney Laurie Phillips, who represents the group, that the sheriff wasn’t booked because “we don’t need to. We know who he is.”
Tulsa police officers charged in the federal corruption case a few years ago went through the booking process, as have other law enforcement officials in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties accused of crimes on duty. Pretty sure the sheriff’s office and prosecutors knew who they were also.
Elected officials, including former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher and numerous former state lawmakers, have also gone through the booking process in Oklahoma. At least one, Randy Terrill, was also led on a “perp walk” in handcuffs.
It’s unclear whether Rick Brinkley, a former state senator from Owasso, was booked into the jail, however. He was charged in federal court with embezzling funds from the Better Business Bureau. The sheriff’s office has an agreement to hold and process prisoners for the U.S. Marshals Service but does not make those mugshots publicly available.
The day after Glanz was indicted, he appeared in court with his attorney and was released on his own recognizance. At the time, his attorney, Scott Wood, said that meant the sheriff would not be booked into jail on the misdemeanors.
After Tuesday’s hearing for Glanz, both Lewis and Harris’ brother, Andre, said they believe the former sheriff should be treated like any other Tulsa County citizen accused of a crime. Glanz retired Nov. 1 from the office, leaving Undersheriff Rick Weigel in charge until a special election in the spring.
“It’s upsetting because what we see is special treatment,” Lewis said.
Bates also received favorable treatment after he shot Harris, claiming he mixed up his Taser and his gun. Bates was not interviewed by internal affairs officers for four days because Wood (who is being paid by the county to represent him) said he was too upset.
Bates was whisked through the booking process in far less time than average citizens spend in the jail before they post bond. He was assigned a judge with multiple conflicts of interest who initially refused to remove himself from the case even though he had served as a reserve deputy with Bates.
District Judge James Caputo later recused from Bates’ case following reports by The Frontier about apparent conflicts he failed to reveal in a disclosure statement.
Though Bates’ preliminary hearing was originally scheduled in July, his attorney, Clark Brewster, was able to move the hearing to an earlier date, appear in court and waive it before reporters were aware the hearing had been moved.
Why go through the process of booking the longest-serving sheriff in state history?
Because allowing Glanz to avoid this part of the justice system reinforces the idea that the system is inherently unfair. If you’re in law enforcement or even just a close friend of law enforcement, you play by a different set of rules.
But if one of my children or yours gets arrested on a misdemeanor, you can bet they will be booked, fingerprinted and photographed and those documents made part of the permanent public record. No friendly judges or prosecutors for them.
Who could do something about this disparate treatment? Nightingale surely has the authority to direct prosecutors to process the sheriff through the jail like everyone else. The prosecutors, who were chosen by Attorney General Scott Pruitt, could also make that decision on their own.
In its most recent annual report, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office promises: “The Sheriff’s Office will ensure fairness and due process to citizens and employees alike.”
Except, apparently, when it comes to the sheriff himself.