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Suspect in fatal police pursuit captured in east Tulsa

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Latest from Russell Mills

    UPDATE: Investigators have arrested a man in connection with a deadly police chase that killed a man on a north Tulsa highway early Wednesday. Jerry Lee Newman, 24, was caught in the area of 31st and Garnett Wednesday afternoon. He has a string of prior felony convictions, mostly involving stolen vehicles. Newman was released from prison in February of this year, according to DOC records. A police chase that started in Sapulpa early Wednesday morning ended in a crash on Highway 75 in Tulsa. We’re told a suspect crashed into a driver in the northbound lanes, the suspect was said to be driving southbound. The driver hit by that suspect on the highway was killed. The suspect was able to escape on foot. He fled through a salvage yard and into a north Tulsa neighborhood. This dramatic surveillance video from that salvage yard shows just how narrowly a police officer missed catching the suspect: KRMG has learned the man allegedly stole an ONG service truck in Sapulpa about 5:45 a.m.  A pursuit quickly developed, and the man led officers all the way to Tulsa International Airport, where he crashed through a fence and onto the tarmac. OHP troopers tried twice to use tactical maneuvers to stop him, and may have prevented him from hitting a commercial aircraft that was taxiing at the time. But he kept going, and eventually ended up on Highway 75, driving the wrong way in the southbound lane. Police called off the chase at that point, but by the time they got back on the highway going the right way the crash had occurred.  Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to call OHP at (405) 425-7620. 
  • Struggling to meet a massive budget gap and running out of time, Oklahoma Republicans have settled on a plan that includes a fee on cigarettes, which they say will raise $215 million next year. They couldn’t pass a tax hike on cigarettes, because Democrats balked at what they see as a regressive tax; they were willing to do it, but wanted the gross production tax on new oil and gas wells raised to 5 percent. Tax increases require a 75 percent super majority to pass in Oklahoma, so despite the fact that they’re heavily outnumbered in both houses, Democrats were able to block the tax. So GOP leaders decided to push a fee on cigarettes, instead. A difference without a distinction, according to people KRMG spoke with at LaFortune Park Tuesday. “I don’t see any difference between fees and taxes. There’s just absolutely no difference, it’s just semantics,” one man said. And, he points out, it can raise money or encourage people to quit - but not both. “It costs more money to smoke, more people quit, which I guess is good for the health situation, but it doesn’t do anything for the budget,” he said. One woman thought getting people to quit is in itself a major benefit. “I’m all for that, just because I think cigarette smoking is horrible,” she told KRMG. But others told us they’re not sure even another dollar-fifty a pack would get them to quit. “I wanted to quit since the last time they raised the tax,” one man said. “It’s a little bit tougher than I thought.”
  • Tuesday, Oklahoma lawmakers reacted to a $4.1 trillion budget proposal with a note of cautious optimism. Rep. Tom Cole made it clear the plan won’t make it through Congress unscathed. “There’s quite a bit of the president’s budget that simply aren’t (sic) going to be supported by any Democrats at all,” he said. “It’s good to have his sense of priorities, but we also have to be realistic about what we can fashion and pass.” He went on to say “our final product will be better because we had the president’s input, but it certainly won’t mirror the president’s proposals.” Senator James Lankford also noted that the president’s plan is only the beginning of the process. “The White House’s proposed FY2018 budget is the start of a long conversation on how to best fund the federal government for the next year,” he said in an email sent to KRMG. “I am glad to see that the Trump Administration is trying to address the nation’s long-term budget crisis with a budget proposal that balances in 10 years.” Critics, however, say the projections of a balanced budget in ten years rely on a lot of wishful thinking - including a growth in the economy at a rate of 3% a year, something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade. Lankford has also made it clear that the budgeting process itself is flawed, in his opinion. Since it was last reformed in 1974, he wrote, it has only worked four times. “Let’s put an end to the days of continuing resolutions and massive omnibus funding bills,” Lankford said. “It’s time to fix the issue that has been before us for 43 years. I ask Congress to bring responsibility and predictability back to the system and let’s make the needed reforms so that it actually works for the American people.”
  • In 1921, cities throughout the country were sharply divided by race, and Tulsa was no exception. The city erupted into violence that year, leading to what remains by most accounts the worst race riot in the history of the country. The centennial of that tragic event is swiftly approaching, but in many ways Tulsa remains a racially divided city. Speaking Thursday, Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum said he and the city council agree it’s the major challenge the city faces in moving forward. “We are in unanimous agreement that issues of racial disparity in Tulsa need to be addressed, and we have a unanimous desire to take actions, and to bring all the tools that the city government has at its disposal to take those actions,” Bynum said. He said one of those tools is the Resilient Cities Program, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. “We recognize that the greatest issue that we need help with is racial disparity in Tulsa,” Bynum said. “This is something that Tulsans have been talking about for a hundred years, and have not succeeded in addressing.”State Rep. Regina Goodwin recently told KRMG she also wants action. “Not just talking points, not just task forces, not just meetings - ‘feel good’ meetings - but that we actually make progress here,” she said. “We talk about commemorating the 100th anniversary of what I call the race massacre. What I would like to see is a city that really comes to terms with not only that history, but our current history.” Several times in recent years, there have been racially-charged incidents that many feared would lead to civil unrest and violence. But, Mayor Bynum pointed out, Tulsa has remained peaceful - yet people still seem to expect the worst. “We have a long way to go as a city when one part of our city is synonymous with an entire race. We have a long way to go as a city when people keep expecting lawlessness from African-Americans in response to an incident or a verdict. I would remind Tulsans that our history shows us - African-Americans in Tulsa have not been the instigators of lawlessness and riots. They have been the victims of them.”
  • The jury in the Officer Betty Shelby case has found her not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher last September. It was an interesting and busy day in the courtroom. Closing arguments took more than two hours followed by the jury receiving instructions and beginning deliberations. About 9:30 p.m., KRMG learned the jury had reached a verdict after more than nine hours of deliberation. In the early afternoon the defense asked for a mistrial based on what they termed “prosecutorial misconduct.” Judge Drummond denied the request and deliberations continued.  Just after 6:30 PM the jury sent a message to the judge saying they had a question.  They wanted to know how the verdict should be delivered and asked if they could make a statement saying how and why they came to their decision.  Drummond told the 12 the verdict would need to be delivered in open court and denied the request to explain. The incident began when Shelby drove up on Crutcher, whose car was parked in the middle of the road. Crutcher was outside the vehicle, acting strangely. Shelby approached and began issuing commands, which Crutcher ignored. She maintained all along that as a drug-recognition expert, she felt Crutcher was high on something. Eventually, Crutcher approached the side of his vehicle, and according to some witnesses, began to reach inside the vehicle. One officer deployed a Taser, and more or less simultaneously, Shelby fired a single shot, which proved fatal. The shooting led to national headlines, marches in the streets in support of the Crutcher family, and put Tulsa once again in the spotlight on the issues of race relations and police procedures. Tulsa’s Fraternal Order of Police was a vocal supporter of Shelby, holding press conference in which they said Tulsa County D.A. Steve Kunzweiler had rushed to judgement in the case, filing the manslaughter charge before all the facts were known. Crutcher family supporters, however, pointed out that in their opinion being high on drugs and non-compliant with a peace officer do not constitute capital crimes. With visits from Rev. Al Sharpton on one hand, and a controversial “60 Minutes” appearance by Shelby on the other, media interest in the case was high from the beginning.  Both sides have urged that any protests or public gatherings in the wake of the verdict remain peaceful.  LISTEN to the KRMG Morning News 8am In-Depth Hour on the Betty Shelby verdict here
  • The testimony has been heard, and Wednesday morning the jury in the manslaughter trial of Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby will hear closing arguments. Shelby admittedly shot and killed Terence Crutcher during a confrontation last September in north Tulsa. She has claimed she felt Crutcher was on drugs at the time, that he refused to comply with her commands, and that she believed he was going for a weapon inside his vehicle when she shot him. Toxicology reports showed that he was indeed on drugs, but no weapon was ever found - though testimony indicates there was a screwdriver in the glove box, Crutcher was on the driver’s side of the vehicle when he was shot. Throughout the months leading up to the trial, and as the case proceeded in court, supporters of Shelby and Terence Crutcher’s family have been consistently vocal. After court recessed Tuesday, members of the Crutcher family and their supporters spoke with reporters. Pastor Marcus Howard, who identified himself as “a family member,” spoke on a theme many of them sounded repeatedly - that the trial focused more on Terence Crutcher, and his troubled past, than on the events of September 16th. Defense attorneys, he said, are “trying to portray her as being an angel, and an angel she is not. And if we pay very close attention in court, we see that she begins to allow some of this anger to come out, and some of this distress to come out.” Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton, though, argues that in his opinion, Shelby’s actions that evening were completely justified. “Betty Shelby did her job. She did it honorably, she honored her oath,” he told KRMG, “and she did above all as she was trained to do.” It’s easy to second-guess an officer’s actions after the fact, rather than truly consider what it was like in the heat of the moment, Walton said. “A lot of things going through your mind, a lot of decisions, a lot of thoughts to be processed and no time to do it,” he said. “The wrong decision, and we’re going to Betty Shelby’s funeral.” Whether the jury convicts Shelby, finds her not guilty, or ends up unable to reach a verdict, there will be people bitterly disappointed in the outcome of the trial.
  • The trial for a Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man moves into its second week Monday morning. Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher in September of last year. Her supporters have taken to social media to call the prosecution a “witch hunt” and to make the case that she feared for her life, and for the safety of others, when she pulled the trigger. The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police called a news conference to blast District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler for what they said was a “rush to judgement.” Shelby herself appeared on the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” to argue that race had nothing to do with her decision to shoot. But for the Crutcher family and their supporters, race does indeed play a role in how many police officers approach a situation. Crutcher’s death serves as another in a long list of recent examples of police officers closing ranks and covering for one of their own who has crossed the line, in their opinion. KRMG met Monroe Padillow and Pastor Mareo Johnson outside the Tulsa County courthouse last week. Johnson said he actually heard about the shooting before Crutcher’s own family. A long time friend of the family, he said the news was devastating. He was the first to arrive at the hospital, where he waited for news as family members began to arrive. When he learned his friend had died, he said, “I was hurt. When I left from there I went home, and I just cried.” He and Terence worked together to create Gospel music.“I liked his singing, he liked my rapping,” he said, smiling as he recalled his friend’s habit of breaking into song in the middle of a conversation. “You could be talking to him on the phone and he’d bust out into a song.” Padillow, like Johnson a member of Black Lives Matter, didn’t know Crutcher personally. He told KRMG the community at large - not just Tulsa’s black community - should be watching the case closely. “We have an opportunity to again show the nation how it’s done. I think they did it right in the Bates case, I believe that we have another opportunity now to do it right, and I believe that that will give some great momentum to moving forward across the board.” He said that includes “making sure police officers are safe - and making sure that good police officers that see bad things, (that would) give them the courage and the momentum to go ahead and call that stuff out.” Supporters of Shelby have argued that a guilty verdict would send a chilling message to police officers around the country. There’s little doubt that either way the verdict goes, reaction will be highly emotional - and deeply divided.
  • Two officers seriously injured while attempting to arrest a shoplifting suspect Thursday evening have been released from the hospital; meanwhile, Owasso police have released body cam videos of the incident. They say Bailey Michelle Cargile, 26, resisted arrest and attempted to drive off with an officer hanging from the driver’s side window. He was pinned briefly against another vehicle, then hit by falling debris after the vehicle smashed into a building, sending bricks flying. Another officer was also injured. Lt. Nick Boatman with OPD says they’re still investigating to determine if he was struck by the vehicle, or injured diving away from it. Both were taken to the hospital Thursday in serious condition, but were allowed to go home Friday morning. Cargile, Boatman tells KRMG, had warrants for her arrest in Kansas. She lists an address in Independence, Kansas. She remains jailed on bonds totaling $70,000.
  • In 2015, the story goes, the mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico saw a man panhandling. He rolled down his car window and asked the man if he’d be interested in a job, and the man’s enthusiastic response led Mayor Richard Berry to tell his staff “there’s a better way.” The program to put panhandlers to work was born, and has borne fruit, according to Tulsa City Councilor Phil Lakin. The council and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum met with a representative of Albuquerque’s program Wednesday. Lakin tells KRMG the program not only helps the panhandlers, “it’s exceptional for the city as well. This individual said that they had cleaned 400 city blocks in the city of Albuquerque, and they’ve been doing this for about two and a half or three years.” The program has grown every year as well, and Albuquerque now has two vans that seek out panhandlers, or respond to reports from citizens on the 311 system. Tulsa also has 311, and Lakin said Tulsans will be able to use the app or call 311 to report panhandlers, or to donate money to the “Better Way” program. The mayor’s recent budget proposal included $25,000 for a pilot program, but Lakin said enthusiasm is high and the council is looking at doubling that initial investment.
  • Voting closes Wednesday for those interested in helping to choose a new flag for the city of Tulsa. Jacob Johnson and Joey Wignarajah first approached the city council with the idea last November, and they’ve devoted a lot of time, energy, and even money to accomplishing their goal.  “We’re not making any money off of it, in fact, Jacob and I and a lot of other people in the community are putting money up, and every dollar will be spent in the process,” Wignarajah told KRMG. “Any money that’s left over will be used to buy flags, and stickers and other giveaways just to get as many people out there covered in Tulsa flag things as possible.” He said the current flag - the city seal on a white field - has two main problems. First, it’s poor flag design, he said.  Secondly, if a business wanted to create the flags, or t-shirts for example, they’d be committing a felony by reproducing the city’s corporate seal. They studied flag design, and solicited ideas from the public. “We asked the question: What event is important in Tulsa’s history? And we got all kinds of great input, everything from the oil boom, to race riots and Black Wall Street and the importance of that. Some people thought Tulsa’s sound and Tulsa’s music was very important. So we took all of that input and we put it together into a design brief that said ‘here are the things the community thinks are important, and here are the principles of good flag design.’ And then we gave that to designers, and the public, and opened up the flag competition.” They got about 400 responses, from which an independent panel chose the three finalists.  People can text one letter - A, B, or C - to 918-376-5690 to vote (in the illustration above, A is on the left, B in the center, and C on the right). To see a short video explaining the meaning of the designs, visit the Tulsa Flag website.
  • Russell Mills

    Anchor/Reporter

    Russell Mills came to Tulsa in 1991 with an AA degree in Broadcast Journalism and a new family. He worked in local television for more than 20 years as a show producer, assignment editor, and online content director. He built one of the first television news websites in the country and helped pioneer streaming audio and video, especially as it related to weather and live news coverage on the Internet. Russell says working for KRMG fulfills a longtime dream. "I worked in newsrooms for a long, long time before finally getting the chance to get out and cover the news in person. I can't tell you how much I love doing just that -- driving toward the big story to talk to the people involved gets my adrenaline going like almost nothing else in life." Russell grew up in Bozeman, Montana then spent several years as an "itinerant musician and restaurant worker," living in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California before finally starting college at 28 and discovering broadcasting as a possible career path. He is married to Shadia Dahlal, a nationally-known Middle Eastern Dancer and instructor, and has two stepchildren. You can connect with Russell via TwitterFacebook, or Linked In

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  • It's the illegal immigration you don't often hear about. These are the immigrants who start off legal, by entering the U.S. on a travel visa. But then they overstay that visa. Quartz.com reports that for just the second time, the government has counted them up. And for fiscal year 2016, the biggest violators, by far, were Canadians. There were around 120,000 Canadians who overstayed visas, compared to just 47,000 Mexicans. Quartz says the data shows just how little we know about who's coming and going across the borders. They say Homeland Security is starting to use biometric technology to track travelers, but the funding is much less than what's being proposed for the Mexican border wall. You can read more about the story here.
  • There are a lot of unhappy lawmakers at the Oklahoma Capitol. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are complaining about how two budget panels approved a $6.8 billion spending bill. Rank-and-file legislators were given few details ahead of Tuesday night's vote. The bill slashes spending to most state agencies by nearly 5 percent.  Public schools were spared from cuts, and a handful of state agencies were given spending increases. Governor Mary Fallin said, “This plan keeps our government from shutting down. It is not an ideal budget, but it avoids draconian cuts to our core services such as education, health and human services, and public safety.”  
  • A review of a Republican health care overhaul plan which passed the House earlier this month found it would result in 23 million fewer people having health insurance over the next ten years, as the Congressional Budget Office questioned whether some GOP changes might promote instability in state health insurance markets. The most important figure from the CBO review was that the plan would reduce the budget deficit by $119 billion over ten years, ending any concerns that the measured would be derailed by strict budget rules used in the Senate. The CBO review was slightly better than one on an earlier version of the House bill when it comes to the number of people who would not have health insurance – 23 million by 2026, compared to 24 million before changes were made to win enough votes for passage in the House. BREAKING: Budget office: 23 million more uninsured, lower premiums for less coverage under GOP House-passed health care bill. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 24, 2017 But the report raised some concerns with a pivotal change made by Republicans, which allows states to get waivers from certain key provisions of the Obama health law – allowing states to peel back certain “Essential Health Benefits,” and changes in how insurance companies can set premiums based on someone’s health status, something known as “community rating.” “As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs,” the CBO report stated. “That instability would cause some people who would have been insured in the nongroup market under current law to be uninsured,” the report added. CBO estimates that in states requesting AHCA waivers, premiums for low-income elderly enrollees would go up 800 percent. That is not a typo. pic.twitter.com/W7QC4z9UUS — Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) May 24, 2017 The release of the CBO numbers came as Senate Republicans continued to work behind closed doors on their own health care plan. “We have to have the goal of lowering premiums for Americans,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). “And it has to be credible coverage.” As of now, GOP Senators are only working with each other, and not trying to gain the votes of any Democrats. It’s a very small margin for error for the GOP, which can only afford to lose two of their 52 members – and then would have to rely on the tie breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence. McConnell on why no Ds in healthcare talks: 'We're not going to waste our time talking to people who have no interest in fixing the problem' — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 23, 2017 At this point, the health care bill approved by the House on May 4 still has not been sent to the Senate, as Republicans try to figure out their next step. The House and Senate are not in legislative session next week, meaning any action by Republicans will be pushed into June. The longer it takes to resolve health care legislation, the longer it will take to deal with the 2018 budget and President Trump’s plans on tax reform.
  • Women CEOs did pretty well last year, but there's still very few of them running the world's largest companies. The median pay for a female CEO was $13.1 million last year, up 9 percent from 2015, according to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. For reference, male CEOs earned $11.4 million, also up 9 percent. But the number of women in CEO roles has barely budged. Just 6 percent of the top paid CEOs in the U.S. last year were women, according to the Equilar and AP analysis, a slight increase from about 5 percent in 2015 and 2014. The highest paid woman was Virginia Rometty of International Business Machines Corp., bumping out Yahoo's Marissa Mayer from the top spot. Rometty earned $32.3 million last year from the technology company, a 63 percent jump from the year before, mainly due to $12.1 million in stock option awards she didn't receive in 2015. Mayer earned $27.4 million last year, making her the second-highest paid woman.
  • 3rd Annual Great Graft Race Labor Day, Monday September 4th 2017 Early Bird Registration Ends Wednesday 5/31 (Register here). Get ready for the 3rd year of the Great Raft Race's revival on the Arkansas River. Register now to participate in this classic Tulsa event on Labor Day Monday September 4th 2016. Register yourself or your team of participants for a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, inflatable raft, or the crowd favorite creative homemade rafts.   Registration Info You won’t want to miss our early bird price that is significantly cheaper than the 2016 cost.  Registration prices: 5/1/17 - 5/31/17 Early bird pricing = $45 per participant  6/1/17 - 7/15/17 = $55 per participant 7/16/17 - 8/15/17 = $70 per participant Race Categories Participants will be able to compete in the recreational category  “Pokey Okie” and leisurely float down the AR River while enjoying the views and soaking up the sun. Speed Demons participate in the “Race Category” and see who’s rowing muscle can take them the fastest down the river! We will be giving awards for top 3 times in the 2 race categories; Canoe/Kayak/Sup & Homemade Raft. OR Compete directly against other local businesses for bragging rights in this year’s “Corporate Challenge”. Corporate Challenge participants receive VIP tent access at the Bud Light Boatyard Bash where free food, drink, and adult beverages catered by Elote will be provided.  Raft Race Design Challenge Ready to showcase your design and construction skills?? Or will you have the the most creative kookiest raft on the river, and just hope it floats?? Good news is we are rewarding both! The Raft Race Design Challenge will give out awards for the following  Categories:  Best of Show- The best overall design of the Great Race, blending construction, creativity, sea-worthiness, style, and fun!! Best Engineered Raft - The best engineered, constructed, and most intricate functioning raft. Most Creative - The most creative, artistic, funny raft. Costumes encouraged! All homemade raft participants are automatically entered to compete in these categories.  Bud Light Boatyard Bash  You don’t want to miss the official Great Raft Race finish line party! Come out and enjoy the end of summer with us on Labor Day and cheer your favorite rafts to the finish line! The Bud Light Boatyard Bash is located at River West Festival Park on the Arkansas River. Admission is FREE! Bring lawn chairs and a blanket and find your perfect spot of grass on the riverbank to enjoy the party! Festivities Include: Live Local Music Food Trucks Inflatable Kids Zone Yard Games - new for ‘17 Retail Vendors