Attorney General Eric Holder cancels appearance at OKCPD graduation
By Christine VanTimmeren
A visit from the U.S. Attorney General is met with protests, but U.S. Attorney Eric Holder never came. He canceled his speech at the Oklahoma City Police Department's new recruit graduation early Thursday morning.The OKCPD says it welcomed the presence of Holder, who is the top ranking law enforcement officer in the United States, despite promises from conservative lawmakers and organizations to protest his appearance. Holder's appearance was announced Monday by the police department but he was not the first requested speaker. The department said Holder agreed to fill in when the requested speaker declined.The protesters say they consider it a victory that Mr. Holder was a no show. They believe it was their threat of protests that scared him away. The real reason behind his cancellation is something we may never know.Thursday afternoon, 42 Oklahoma City Police recruits filed in to First Church in downtown Oklahoma City, prepared to dedicate their lives to serving our city. Recruit supporters packed into the pews and listened to inspirational speeches. While outside, protesters did the same.The demonstration was organized before protesters knew Holder wasn't coming, but they continued with it anyway. Oklahoma City Police say they were prepared as well."As long as they're protesting legally we have no problem with them. They have a constitutional right to voice their opinion," said OKCPD Spokesperson Capt. Dexter Nelson.While the number of protesters was significantly less than expected, the message was still the same."I think he's broken his oath of office to defend the U.S. Constitution. I think he should be impeached," said Rep. Paul Wesselhoft.Holder's visit also raised concern for Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford, a candidate for U.S. Senate.Lankford said in a statement Holder's visit was inappropriate given what he called Holder's "tactics of obfuscation and redirection of blame."Lankford serves on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating Holder's office.Back inside the church, the elephant in the room wasn't ignored. The Honorable Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange didn't shy away from the fact she was not the Attorney General."We have to keep levity in things, [the OKCPD] invited me, uninvited me, and re-invited me here today," she said.The OKCPD says what was happening with the 42 recruits had nothing to do with the protest. So as they received their badges and walked across the stage, the protesters outside walked away."We will all know you by your honor, by your badge, by your integrity, by your courage and by your accountability," Federal Judge Miles-LaGrange said.Attorney General Eric Holder will be in Oklahoma Friday for a routine meeting with the Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
KOKH Fox 25 provides, news, sports, weather and local event coverage in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, including McLoud, Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole, Wewoka, Maud, Asher, Wanetted, Goldsby, Norman, Blanchard, Chickasha, Pauls Valley, Purcell, Andarko, Bridgeport, Lawton, Duncan, Okarche, Kingfisher, Guthrie Stillwater and Cushing, Oklahoma.