Mural Painting Incident
Five men and women pleaded guilty earlier this week to a reduced charge over their involvement in a confrontation with an Oklahoma City police officer during the painting of a street mural.
The five had been charged with a felony, incitement to riot, over the incident outside Oklahoma City Police Department headquarters back in June.
Instead, they pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, obstructing a police officer in the performance of his official duties.
Under plea agreements, Tyreke J. Baker, 20; Trevour Evans Webb, 26; Sincere Terry, 19; Preston Nabors, 23; and Mia Hogsett, 31, will be on probation for two years and must not possess any guns outside their homes.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said his original decision to file a felony case “was done so to promote public safety.”
“I do not apologize for that decision, but I understand some, who don’t have my responsibility, will criticize it,” he said in a statement.
He called the guilty pleas an acknowledgement of their conduct ,as well as an opportunity for them to dispose of their cases “without ruining the remainder of their young lives.”
They were accused of surrounding a police sergeant’s vehicle as he was taking a homicide witness to police headquarters for an interview.
The confrontation began after Sgt. Nicholas Wald moved a barricade that was blocking his access to the front entrance, a detective reported.
The barricade had been relocated earlier without permission, the detective reported in a court affidavit.
“For a brief time, Wald’s vehicle was completely confined from moving in any direction,” according to the affidavit.
Miss Hogsett, Mr. Webb and Miss Terry pursued the vehicle and screamed obscenities as the sergeant backed up, according to the affidavit.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Nabors had taken an AR-15-style rifle out of his car and held it up for others to see, the detective reported.
Miss Hogsett, of Norman, also pleaded guilty Monday to a second misdemeanor, threatening to perform an act of violence, over a confrontation with police June 24.
She admitted she had made statements about burning down the police station, “but had no means to endeavor or attempt to do so.”
She had originally been charged with a felony over that incident, too.
Miss Hogsett and others spoke out at a news conference outside the courthouse after pleading guilty.
Some referred to themselves as the “Prater 5.”
“I stand here on the right side of history,” Miss Hogsett said. “The voices which stand for justice for all, regardless of race, will, inevitably, prevail, even if it does not happen in my time.”
Mr. Baker complained he was present June 23 outside the police headquarters only as a journalist reporting on the incident.
He called District Attorney Prater disgusting.
Mr. Webb said he will not be silenced.
“Our voices are going to be heard,” Mr. Webb said.
“I believe that this was wholeheartedly a strategy to silence the people within the community and to make people fearful of being able to go out and lawfully assemble and hold their First Amendment rights.
“We’re not going to stop being here.”
“Citizens of Oklahoma County should be assured that the right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances shall not be infringed,” District Attorney Prater said.