With community activists screaming charges of racism and fascism, two of the three members of the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners voted to create a county policy “to fully cooperate with the personnel and contractors of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency,” allow them full access to the Oklahoma County Jail and honor 48-hour ICE detainers on those jailed.
Oklahoma County Commissioners Kevin Calvey and Brian Maughan voted in favor of the policy, which comes weeks after the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority almost kicked ICE out of the jail. Commissioner Carrie Blumert, who participated via teleconference while Maughan and Calvey attended the meeting in person, opposed the motion and said she believed the commissioners had relinquished their authority to make such policy when they voted to create the OCCJA, also called the “jail trust.”
“I believe the trust still has their own authority. Any member of the authority can put this item on a trust agenda and vote for themselves,” Blumert said. “I still think it’s on the trust.”
Calvey disagreed, saying that the jail trust must “comply with all local, state and federal policies.” He said Monday’s vote would create a local policy with which the jail trust would need to comply.
“I’ve already discussed it with the trust’s attorney, and this would bind the trust,” Calvey said.
Maughan agreed with Calvey that the Board of County Commissioners still had the power to create such a policy, but he also appeared to agree with Blumert that the three commissioners had previously agreed to send such policy proposals through a “governance committee” before taking a full vote.
But as many county meetings have in recent weeks, the scene turned chaotic before the committee discussion could fully take form. Residents who had already offered public comment opposing the proposal began yelling insults at Maughan and Calvey, who decided to move forward with the vote instead of discussing the potential committee process further.
“Shut your fraudulent and uneducated mouth when it comes to immigration,” victims advocate Sara Bana yelled at Maughan. “You have no idea how the system works!”
Moments earlier during the public comment period, Bana had called Maughan “privileged.” She called Calvey racist and sexist. She said both men should go to jail, and she said District Attorney David Prater was also racist.
Jess Eddy, who has worked with Bana since 2019 on immigration reform issues and his sexual misconduct allegations against former leaders of the University of Oklahoma, spoke after Bana.
“Kevin Calvey, your political ploy here is transparent to the public,” Eddy said. “You continue to refute and undermine public opinion.”
Eddy called Monday’s vote by the commissioners an “end round” to prevent the jail trust from again trying to boot ICE from the jail, which Eddy, Bana and other activists thought had happened Sept. 21. But the jail trust chairwoman, Tricia Everest, dropped off her teleconference connection just prior to the vote, meaning the 4-2 vote did not achieve a majority of members.
On Sept. 30, Everest made a motion to delay a proposed jail trust re-vote on the issue from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19.
“That is so we continue to meet so we could be able to be more efficient with our time in gathering together in order to fully execute all items of the business that we need to do in the public,” Everest said Sept. 30.
That caused Bana to call Everest a racist.
On Monday, Eddy criticized Calvey directly.
“ICE is notorious for human rights violations and injustices,” Eddy said. “You claim to be a religious man, but your actions speak louder.”
Calvey defended his position.
“Simply cooperating with federal immigration authorities is something we have to do,” Calvey said. “Every nation on earth has immigration laws. Ours in America are more open than most.”
A resident named Sam Wargin Grimaldo chastised Maughan directly.
“Commissioner Maughan, I don’t see how you think this is a good idea politically, ethically, morally,” Grimaldo said. “You are up for re-election in three weeks. South Oklahoma City is going to have its voice heard.”
When the meeting ended, Bana and others continued to scream at Calvey as they left the room.
“Still waiting for you to go to jail for that assault and battery, thug!” Bana shouted. “You racist old man!”
Bana was referencing a prior encounter between Calvey and a member of the public.