Oklahoma lawmaker censured for allegedly hiding fugitive in their office | Oklahoma

(The Center Square) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, for allegedly hiding someone being sought by law enforcement in their office. 

The censure removes Turner, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns “they, their and them,” from their committees until they apologize publicly to the House and the troopers. 

The incident happened on Feb. 28 during a protest against House Bill 2177, which bans gender transition procedures for minors. According to KFOR, which recorded the event, one person threw water on Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah, and then hit a trooper. That person is seen on the video being arrested. 

Turner is accused of hiding a second person wanted for questioning.

“This member knowingly, and willfully, impeded a law enforcement investigation, harboring a fugitive and repeatedly lying to officers, and used their official office and position to thwart attempts by law enforcement to make contact with a suspect of the investigation,” House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said in a statement. 

Turner defended their actions but did not apologize in a speech on the House floor.

“But I’m telling you, censuring me on this floor, right when we haven’t censured folks who have brought death threats to my office, those of you who just writ ‘kill’ on my bills and give them back or those of you who ask me what my genitalia is, that’s not impeding the decorum for you,” Turner said. “But the fact that I dared to protect Oklahomans, that I provided a safe space for grace and love in the face of hate, I’m asking you please don’t censure the people of House District 88.”

House Democratic Leader defended Turner, saying they cooperated with law enforcement. 

“This is a historic display of inhumanity by House Republicans to silence anyone who is different from them,” Munson said in a statement. “It is a manifestation of ignorance and hate.”

House members agreed to the censure, with 81 voting for it and 19 Democratic members voting against it. 

McCall said he would not let House members impede law enforcement officers from doing their job.

“The House stands by our law enforcement, and will not allow what is an already dangerous and unpredictable job to become more dangerous due to the actions of a member of our body,” McCall said. “The inappropriate, and potentially criminal, actions exhibited by this member of the House were deserving of censure, and the actions taken by the House today were both measured and just.”

This article First appeared in the center square

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