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Jail Trust Vote Again Fails To Remove ICE From Oklahoma's Largest County Jail

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The body entrusted with running the Oklahoma County Jail reconsidered a vote Monday to remove an ICE agent from the jail. The vote occurred as the jail trust faces a lawsuit demanding cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The vote failed. Four of the county jail trust’s members voted in favor of removing the ICE Agent and refusing to honor ICE detainers. Two members voted against the proposal, two members abstained and one was not present.

The vote failed because the trust says it needs at least five ‘yes’ votes to approve new policies – a rule that drew anger from protesters at the meeting. Last month, a vote on the same item failed for the same reason.

The vote was complicated by a recently filed lawsuit that demands the trust obey an order from county commissioners to cooperate with ICE.

That lawsuit was filed by an Oklahoma gun rights organization, a local pastor named Tom Vineyard and Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey who also sits on the jail trust and proposed the requirement to his fellow county commissioners.

Trust member Francie Ekwerekwu is one of the members who wants ICE removed from the jail. She argued that the county has no authority to tell the trust what policies it enacts – an opinion shared by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.

Dueling protesters at the trust’s meeting voiced support and opposition to removing ICE from the jail.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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