Bill reminiscent of 'stop and frisk' declared dead
A controversial bill some people feared would have allowed Oklahoma law enforcement to carry out "stop and frisk" type policies is dead for this legislative session.
House Bill 3359 by Rep. David Smith, R-McAlester, passed the House Judiciary Committee, but will not advance to the floor of the chamber, House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said.
The legislation would have allowed a law enforcement officer to stop any person they "reasonably suspect" has committed or is about to commit a crime. The officer could ask the person to explain their actions and provide their name, address and photo identification. If an officer was not satisfied with the responses, the person could be subject to additional questioning or detention.
Smith said he carried the bill on behalf of law enforcement, although he did not specify which law enforcement entity asked for the measure.
“In defense of the member, I think I know what he was trying to do, and the chairman of judiciary did go a long way to make the bill better, but it’s not a direction that we want to go,” said Echols, R-Oklahoma City.
Smith said he wasn't happy with the bill, even after it was amended in committee. The bill faced bipartisan opposition in committee.
He said he asked House Judiciary Chairman Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City, to ensure the bill would not advance to the full floor.
"I had some concerns over it. That's the reason I called and made sure it was dead," Smith said.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the longtime pastor of East Sixth Street Church in Oklahoma City, called the bill a "dangerous proposition."
Congregants of the church were planning a Tuesday community meeting to organize opposition to the legislation. Jackson recalled community opposition from members of his church helped kill a "hoodie" bill in Oklahoma's Legislature in 2015.
That bill was interpreted by some as a bill to ban wearing hooded sweatshirts after Trayvon Martin of Florida was shot to death by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the case, said he pursued Martin because he assumed the hoodie-clad teenager was a criminal
Minorities often end up being the targets of "stop and frisk" policies, Jackson said.
"We’re trying to prevent things like Baltimore and Ferguson coming to pasture in Oklahoma City," he said. "We don’t need these things happening where people could be minding their own business and then be accosted. It just doesn’t make any sense.
"It seems as though it was set up to target particular communities, and I’m glad that the bill is dead."