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Cops, Communities Work Together To Address Use Of Force Issues

Oklahoma police have shot and killed more people per capita this year than any other state in the nation. In Oklahoma City, fatal officer-involved shootings are on the rise as well, and that’s causing some to question officer training. In July, four Oklahoma City police officers arrived at a house in the northeast part of the city. They were looking for Andre Williams. Williams was a registered sex offender with a lengthy record, and he had allegedly just raped a woman. When the four cops...
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Workers uncap a well in the western Oklahoma oil field in 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Slumping oil prices have fueled thousands of job losses in big energy states like Oklahoma, which is “gripped by a mini-recession,” economist Mark Snead tells the Journal Record‘s Kirby Lee Davis:

“The notion that Oklahoma has diversified away from oil and gas is, at this point, many, many years away,” he said.

Jim Marshall, chief-of-staff for Mark Costello, speaks at Costello's vigil on August 27, 2015
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Friends and colleagues of Mark Costello gathered in front of the state capitol last night to honor the late Labor Commissioner.

Friends described Costello as someone who made others feel special. He took time to know colleagues, and sent out birthday cards. Costello was known for a sense of humor that helped lighten the mood, and he famously passed out fake fifty trillion dollar bills.

State senator John Sparks, a Democrat, said Costello was dedicated to civil discourse.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters while on a farm tour in Rocheport, Mo., in 2014.
Kris Husted / Harvest Public Media

Some of the nation’s largest farm groups are cheering after a federal judge blocked implementation Thursday of new rules governing water pollution.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a preliminary injunction delaying the rules, which had been set to take effect Friday, saying that the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its bounds. Thirteen states sued the agency, seeking to prevent implementation, and Erickson said the “states are likely to succeed in their claim.”

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has instructed a judge to implement a ruling that a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds is unconstitutional and must be removed. 

The state's highest court issued the mandate Thursday to carry out its June 30 decision that the monument is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates a state constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion. The 7-2 ruling was reaffirmed last month when the court denied a rehearing sought by Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla., which is impacted by the Regional Haze Rule.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan enraged many top officials in Oklahoma, who argued the rules were an expensive, unnecessary overreach by the federal government.

But the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could create opportunities in Oklahoma, researchers and officials say.


The scene in front of clinics where abortions are performed is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs.

But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information.

Alberto G. / Flickr

The percentage of Oklahoma’s graduating seniors who are ready for college of a career hasn’t changed since last year, according to ACT testing benchmarks.

The testing organization’s annual Condition of College and Career Readiness report released Wednesday shows the number of 2015 high school graduates who met benchmarks in each of the four subject areas – English, reading, math, and science – remained at 22 percent.

Christian Costello at the Oklahoma County Jail Monday after his Sunday arrest for the stabbing death of his father, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Oklahoma City police investigators believe the deadly stabbing of a prominent politician by his son was a premeditated attack and that the suspect intentionally separated his father and mother before the assault took place. 

Those details were disclosed in a police affidavit filed Wednesday as part of a request for a search warrant for a condominium where 26-year-old Christian Costello lived. Costello has been jailed on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder for the Sunday night stabbing death of his father, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.

(This post was last updated at 3:43 p.m. ET.)

Two journalists for Virginia TV news station WDBJ were killed by a gunman Wednesday morning while they were broadcasting live at a waterfront shopping center about an hour southeast of Roanoke, Va.

Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were doing a live report from Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta when a gunman opened fire, killing Parker and Ward and injuring Vicki Gardner, the head of a local Chamber of Commerce who was being interviewed. Gardner is now in stable condition, hospital officials say.

(L-R): Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, Oklahoma City Ward 7 councilman John Pettis, Jr., and Oklahoma City police chief Bill Citty during Tuesday night's forum at Kamp's 1910 Café.
Patrick Roberts / KGOU

Oklahoma City residents crowded into a café in Midtown Tuesday night to discuss police and minority communities.

The event hosted by Oklahoma Watch raised questions about diversity within the police force.

Oklahoma City Ward 7 councilman John Pettis, Jr. spoke to the crowd about everything from the nationwide spike in police shootings to the racial makeup of the city’s police force, where the number of black officers stands at roughly 6 percent. Pettis voiced concerns that number would drop even lower in coming years as minority officers begin to retire.

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