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Does Tulsa case really need outside help?

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 17, 2012

Jesse Jackson marched in Selma, Ala., last month to protest voter ID laws. One of the oft-heard knocks on voter ID laws (which we strongly support) is that in addition to being burdensome, they're designed to fix something that isn't broken.

In the aftermath of racial violence in Tulsa on Good Friday, Jackson expressed doubt that local officials could handle the prosecution of the men suspected of killing three blacks. Federal involvement is needed, he said. In other words, he wants to burden the judicial system to fix something that isn't demonstrably broken.

Given the high profile of the Tulsa shootings and the penchant of the Obama administration to insert itself into local affairs (by challenging state voter ID laws, for example), there was no question that federal officials would review the Good Friday killings regardless of what Jackson said.

What troubles us is the assumption that state and local authorities, including police and prosecutors — and jurors — can't handle this without outside help. Jackson also said Oklahoma has shown a pattern of blacks being attacked and has a number of unsolved killings: “It's not unlike the old South, where local officials spent an awful lot of time covering their tracks.”

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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