— The story of how the Tulsa Police Department’s internal affairs division found the death of a black man in 2014 sparked widespread public outrage and a public inquiry.
It also led to a criminal probe of the department and the Tulsa County district attorney’s office.
Tulsa Police Chief Brian Seiter resigned on Friday.
The investigation and the ensuing criminal probe were the focus of a lengthy investigation by the National Geographic Society’s Public Affairs and Government Relations Division.
“The investigation of Officer Michael Ketchum was the result of a thorough and transparent investigation,” the department said in a statement on Friday, a day after Seiter’s resignation.
“He was not the only officer to receive a fair hearing and to receive his full due process.
I thank him for his service to our community.”
A report released last year by the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (OBI) found that Seiter, a white man, was acting in the interest of “public safety” when he used excessive force when he shot 17-year-old Ketchums brother and his friend.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 2015, Ketchumm said the shooting “was not a justified use of force.”
He said that while the family had been receiving death threats, Seiter had “got a bad feeling” that he would be fired if he did not cooperate with investigators.
The OBI investigation found that there were no credible threats against the family during the investigation and that the department did not take reasonable steps to address concerns raised by the family about the conduct of Seiter.
In a statement to the AP, Seeter said he had apologized to the family for “inappropriate behavior.”
“I know I should have done better and I’m deeply sorry for that,” he said.
The AP’s report, based on records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that the OBI’s report found that the Tulsa police department’s internal investigation had been “poorly handled and the process was flawed.”
Tulsa police did not respond to a request for comment about the report.
Seiter was also the subject of a lawsuit by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after the 2014 shooting.
The lawsuit alleged that the police department had violated the rights of the family, as well as Ketchumps brother, when it fired him after the shooting.
In response to the lawsuit, the Tulsa district attorney and the city of Tulsa agreed to pay Ketchim to settle the case for $6.5 million.
Ketchi was acquitted in April 2018 of manslaughter and excessive force, but the lawsuit remained active.
Keterts brother, who did not testify in the case, was also acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in 2018.
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