A former Tulsa police officer was booked in jail Wednesday around 11 a.m. on four charges of second degree robbery.
Marvin Blades, Jr. is accused of allegedly pulling over Hispanic drivers, asking them to step out of their vehicles, and stealing their money.
The president of the Coalition for the American Dream told Channel 8 Wednesday it is important to build trust between police and members of the Hispanic community.
"It's not something that, you know, you just show up one day and you have a big picnic and you say we're here, we're friendly, don't be afraid of us, and then you disappear," said Marvin Lizama. "That's not how it works."
Lizama said TPD has emphasized outreach in the Hispanic community for the past two years, with posters and public service announcements. He said it is unfortunate that it might take a negative incident like this to spark increased efforts.
Tulsa Police said it has two Spanish-speaking officers. One of them is speaking at churches, reaching out to the Hispanic community with the message that their immigration status will not be assessed if they want to come forward as a victim of a crime.
"Our concern is never your immigration status," said Officer Leland Ashley. "Our concern is if you've been a victim of a crime, to let us know."
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