The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is calling for an independent investigation following the arrest of a man during Sunday’s Black Lives matter protest.
Oklahoma City police arrested Brandon Lara, 24, in Bricktown Sunday. Officers said eight devices that "appeared to be commercial grade smoke bombs" were found in a backpack carried by Lara.
“He had a cap on, he had sunglasses on and he had a bandana partially covering his face so obviously – typical attire for robbing a bank,” said Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama on Monday.
When officers made contact with Lara, they said he started spouting off rhetoric "consistent with that of the 'Sovereign Citizen' domestic terror agenda.”
However, the ACLU now urges the Oklahoma City Police Department and the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office to request an independent investigation into Lara’s arrest.
“This arrest is troubling and probably unconstitutional,” said Brady Henderson, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director. “We’ve reviewed video footage of the arrest and find it wildly inconsistent with the arresting police officer’s sworn affidavit. This raises serious concerns about the legality of Mr. Lara’s continued imprisonment.”
Henderson said the video of the arrest and information from witnesses show that Mr. Lara was neither resisting officers nor causing a disturbance.
Lara does not have any prior arrests.
Thursday evening, the Oklahoma City Police Department released this statement:
After an investigation and interview of Lara by police detectives, charges were presented to the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office. One charge was amended to a misdemeanor and the rest were dismissed.