|Murder and Hate Crime Charges Filed in Tulsa Shootings of Black Men|
April 16, 2012
Murder and Hate Crime Charges Filed in Tulsa Shootings of Black Men
By Hazel Trice Edney
Jake England and Alvin Watts
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Murder and hate crime charges have been filed against the two Tulsa, Okla. men arrested on Easter Sunday for the random shootings of five Black men on Good Friday.
Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, both White, have confessed to the shootings, which killed three of the men, Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54 and William Allen, 31. Wounded were Deon Tucker, 44, and David Hall, 46.
Though the two men have confessed to the shootings, they pled not-guilty to the charges. England had used the N-Word toward Blacks on his Facebook page shortly before the shootings, noting that his father was shot and killed by a Black man two years ago.
The suspects are being held on more than $9 million bond. The men could get the death penalty on the murder charges. Oklahoma’s hate crime charge carries only a one-year sentence and $1,000 fine. Federal hate crime charges have not yet been filed.
The quick arrests within 36 hours of the shootings are being applauded by civil rights leaders. Rev. Jesse Jackson traveled to Tulsa last week to assure the maximum charges amidst uneasiness. Tulsa was the site of the worst race riot in history in 1921. More than 300 Blacks were killed and more than 1,000 of their homes and business on “Black Wall Street” were burned by Whites after an uprising over what was a lie. After a Black man mistakenly stepped on the foot of a White female elevator operator, the false rumor spread that he had raped her.
There has been no connection made between England, Watts and the memory of those riots. But, memories of the incident quickly rose in the aftermath of the shootings.
"We are glad that the Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma have filed first-degree murder and hate crime charges against the two suspects in the Oklahoma shootings. I was scheduled to be in Tulsa this weekend but now feel that I can be more useful to the families of the victims to remain at my national convention and raise money for them,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement. “I will conduct my national radio broadcast from my national convention Sunday and will kick off the drive with $3000 from National Action Network, $1000 for each family of the three deceased victims. I am available to come to visit at the family’s request at a later date."