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Oklahoma Watch to Host August 25 Public Forum on Police and Minority Communities

Nonprofit, nonpatisan media organization Oklahoma Watch will sponsor a public forum on Aug. 25 about the relationship between police and minority communities, featuring Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and Councilman John Pettis, Jr.

The free public forum will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, at Kamp’s 1910 Café, located at 10 N.E. 10th Street in Oklahoma City.

A wave of controversial police shootings nationally has raised tensions between law enforcement and primarily African-American communities. There have been protests and debates. Are too many officers using unnecessary deadly force? Is racism involved? Are police doing enough to connect with neighborhoods? Will body cams reduce the number of shootings?

Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze will moderate the discussion and audience members will be invited to ask questions. Those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP to events@oklahomawatch.org.

Citty was appointed chief by the city manager in 2003, after more than 25 years of service to the department. The chief’s office manages the day-to-day operation of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Several units report directly to the chief’s office, including the special investigations division, criminal intelligence and the office of professional standards.

Citty previously served a variety of roles within the police department, working in patrol, narcotics, homicide, campus resources, tactical unit and public information. He is a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, the FBI National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police, the Federal Emergency Management Institute and the National Executive Institute.

Councilman Pettis was elected to serve as the Oklahoma City Council Ward 7 Councilman in 2013. At the age of 30,  Pettis became the youngest person to be elected to the Oklahoma City Council. A community volunteer and advocate, Pettis has served as an AmeriCorp member, volunteering in poverty communities in Oklahoma.

Pettis volunteers as director of the Oklahoma Institute for Minority Affairs Inc. and is currently leading a national coalition comprised of congressional and national civil rights leaders to improve equal employment opportunity regulations in the federal government. For the past several years, he has been serving as chair of the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board Youth Council (Workforce Oklahoma).

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