Jesse Jackson calls for congressional inquiry into alleged Oklahoma City police civil rights violations

The Rev. Jackson and more than 100 protesters called on Oklahoma City police to reopen their investigation into the death of Robin Leander Howard and to punish the officers who arrested him. Howard, 54, died in June four days after a physical confrontation with patrol officers.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: March 19, 2013

The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined more than 100 protesters Tuesday in requesting Oklahoma City police reopen a criminal investigation into the death of a man who died while in custody.

On the steps of city hall, after a short march from the police headquarters, the civil rights pioneer and other speakers called the investigation into Robin Leander Howard's death a cover-up worth a congressional civil rights inquiry.

“Something does not pass the smell test of justice,” Jackson told the crowd, many of them carrying signs and wearing shirts bearing Howard's picture. “None of us are safe until all of us are, and you are next if we don't stop it.”

What happened

Howard, 54, died in June of last year four days after a physical confrontation with Oklahoma City patrol officers in which his ribs and an arm were broken.

The state medical examiner listed Howard's manner of death as homicide; the cause acute pneumonia caused by blunt force trauma to the chest.

But the police officers were not charged after a criminal investigation by the department and an inquiry by District Attorney David Prater.

Police spokesman Capt. Dexter Nelson said Police Chief Bill Citty met with the family several times to review records of the incident and that an administrative investigation — with assistance by the FBI — is ongoing.

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