Tulsa Cop Sues Local Media Outlets For Accurately Quoting His Dumb Statements

Back in June, Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates – a sought after pundit, speaker and public figure in the authoritarian law enforcement scene – made a casually-cited statement in a radio interview claiming that cops are shooting Blacks not as often as they “probably ought to be.”

Here’s the full quote:

“If a certain group is committing more crimes, more violent crimes, and law enforcement’s having to come into more contact with them, that number is going to be higher. Who in the world in their right mind would think that our shootings should be right along the U.S. Census lines? That’s insanity. All of the research says we’re shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed.”

Yeah, that’s some great news for African Americans! The “research” says cops should technically be shooting people of color more often, so please be happy and content with the excessive levels of police abuse and brutality you’re more likely to experience in America than a white person.

As you probably know, the words that literally came out of Maj. Yate’s mouth quickly hit the web and then spread across the social media outrage channels. Before you could say “Tazer,” his own mayor and police department were calling into question his words, and The New York Times was publishing in-depth reports about them.

As a result, Major Yates has announced he’s suing a variety of media outlets for defamation for accurately reporting what he said. Here are the details via The Tulsa World:

A Tulsa police major has filed a lawsuit against various media organizations, claiming their reports about his comments on a local morning radio show were libelous, portrayed him in a false light and intentionally inflicted severe emotional distress.

Maj. Travis Yates, a 28-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, filed the lawsuit in Rogers County District Court.

Yates names Gannett Co. Inc. and its affiliate GateHouse Media Oklahoma Holdings Inc., Comcast Corp., Public Radio Tulsa and one of its employees as defendants in the lawsuit.

What the f-ck! Hayley covered this fiasco for us when it happened, but we didn’t even get the courtesy of a threatening email from his attorneys! Sure, that could be because we’ve successfully defended ourselves against every lawsuit filed against us, and in one high-profile case, even got reimbursed for our attorney’s fees, but still, that’s insulting. As I like to say, TLO is the Rodney Dangerfield of the local media scene – We can’t get any respect!

Anyway, this case feels more like a sad effort by Yates to save a little face and defend what’s left of his reputation in law enforcement than it does a legitimate lawsuit. Defamation is hard to prove, especially when you’re a public figure, and double-especially when you said the damn words that defamed you!

Here’s what Major Yates had to say about the lawsuit

“I realize I’m picking a fight with the biggest bullies on the block, but someone needs to stand up to media giants that pervert journalism into activism and destroy lives and reputations with impunity,” Yates said in a press release provided by one of his attorneys.

Hey, I know I’m not a thin-skinned cop who perverts laws enforcement into activism, but based on the number of innocent people who are physically assaulted, abused, tormented, and murdered by cops each year, I’d argue that journalists are, at best, the second biggest bullies on the block. Even that’s probably giving them too much credit.

You can read all about the lawsuit over at The Tulsa World

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15 Responses


  1. And we’re supposed to address these knuckleheads as “officer”?


  2. Pulling the Bart Simpson Defense, “I didn’t do it.”


  3. Sometimes racism is so deeply embedded that a person can’t understand how racist he actually is. “The least racist person alive…”

    This lawsuit is dead in the water. I don’t think that anyone can be defamed by the truth. The only open question is whether the court will award attorney’s fees to the defendants. Yet Yates must have lots of supporters who would like to see those elite bullies at Public Radio put in their place.

    Interesting that Yates refers to media as bullies. I have watched so many videos recently of real bullies with badges, gas that makes you cry (don’t call it “tear gas”), rubber bullets, clubs, tasers, and drawn firearms that the description seems ironic at best.


  4. Wait, is he suing as an individual? That means if a judge declares this to be a frivolous lawsuit, he’ll be personally liable for everyone else’s legal expenses!

    I believe the great philosopher, Bugs Bunny, said it best when he uttered the immortal words: “What a maroon!”


  5. It appears that Yates knows he’ll soon be canned and this is a Hail Mary attempt at making a few bucks as he’s cut loose.


  6. “Cop lashes out based upon misunderstanding of the law”

    Where have I heard that one before?


  7. YATES: Now, I don’t reckon I need no fancy book learnin’ to take ad-vantage of the science o’ STAT-is-TACTICAL ANALYSIS! Lemme anal-ize this here sitchATION.

    Now, take yer Black folks. They’s a certain number of them, and ‘cordin’ to my viewin’ o’ the numbers, we done shot STAT-is-TACTICALLY fewer of them in the back when they was a-layin’ on the ground handcuffed, than we oughten-to have done!

    That there is a error on our parts, and we takes full blame-ification fur it. I vow to increase-ify the shootin’ and have requested an increase in our ammooonition budgets, so’s we can buy more bullets!

    (Has anyone seen my white hood? I know I left it layin’ around here somewhere, dang it! I got a rally to attend in the woods later on tonight and I cain’t show up without my hood!)


  8. Nice try, Major Idiot.


  9. Notice that he filed the suit in Rogers County. Rogers County has served as a safe harbor for crooked cops representing the TPD, as evidence by the hiring and continued employment of Betty Shelby, a.k.a. the woman that murdered Terence Crutcher.


    1. Great point, Mike. What does any of this have to do with Rogers County?


      1. Just a hunch that I have that this beginning to be more than a grand coincidence, Graychin.


  10. I really enjoy this website, it is a funny, irreverent poke at all things Okie.

    But this was a little out of context. The Maj said that the likelihood of getting shot by police is proportional to the amount of violent crime you commit.

    Kinda makes sense doesn’t it?

    Now the way he said it was undoubtedly boneheaded and tone deaf to the political climate we have today.


    1. No, it does not make sense.

      We have seen far too many black people shot by police who had nothing to do with violent crime. They matter too.


    2. Saying that they’re shooting black people “24% less than we probably ought to be” is, at worst, horrible wording and, at best, just a justification for inherent biases that have led to different outcomes in our criminal justice system based on race.

      Either way, justifying shootings because other people of your race have committed crimes would be like saying that all cops should be held accountable for the crimes of some cops, or that we should ban all guns because some gun owners commit crimes.


  11. Rodgers County? Yeah, pick a small redneck county and not Tulsa County where he works and spoke his quote.

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