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Oklahoma County Jail Trust Reconsiders, Votes Against Removing ICE Agent

Guards make their rounds on the eighth floor of the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record

The body entrusted with running the Oklahoma County Jail reconsidered a vote to remove an ICE agent from the jail on Monday. The vote occurred as the jail trust faces a lawsuit demanding cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The vote failed. Four of the county jail trust’s members voted in favor of removing the ICE Agent and refusing to honor ICE detainers. Two members voted against the proposal and two members abstained.

The vote failed because the trust says it needs at least five ‘yes’ votes to approve new policies – a rule that drew anger from protesters at the meeting. Last month, a vote on the same item failed for the same reason.

The vote was complicated by a recently filed lawsuit that demands the trust obey an order from county commissioners to cooperate with ICE.

That lawsuit was filed by an Oklahoma gun rights organization, a local pastor named Tom Vineyard and Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey who also sits on the jail trust and proposed the requirement to his fellow county commissioners.

Trust member Francie Ekwerekwu is one of the members who wants ICE removed from the jail. She argued that the county has no authority to tell the trust what policies it enacts – an opinion shared by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.

Dueling protesters at the trust’s meeting voiced support and opposition to removing ICE from the jail.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Quinton joined the team at StateImpact Oklahoma in 2017, focusing on criminal justice reporting. He is an OSU grad with degrees in Economics and Marketing who got his start in radio at KOSU. After graduation, Quinton served as Morning Edition Host/General Assignment Reporter at KBBI Radio in Homer, Alaska and Education Reporter at KTOO Public Media in Juneau, Alaska. Quinton loves writing, reading and has an intense relationship with his Netflix account.
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