Fact-check: Did Oklahoma Hwy Patrol Captain George Brown Blame Police Assaults On Victims? (UPDATED)

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain George Brown. Image via news9.com

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain George Brown. Image via news9.com

Looks like it is time to do another fact check of an image that has been popping up around social media. This time, it’s on the subject of police officers. There’s an image that claims Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain George Brown made the statement that if women didn’t want to be assaulted by police officers, they shouldn’t do things that would cause them to be pulled over in the first place.

Sounds pretty outrageous, right? After all, we just witnessed weeks of protests in Ferguson after an unarmed black teenager was shot by a white police officer and the absolutely horrendous handling of the incident by the local police department. In that case, and others, the victim of police brutality was blamed. So if the police chief in Ferguson could basically blame Michael Brown for his own death, it’s within the realm of possibilities that a police department could blame women for their own sexual assaults at the hands of cops.

Here’s a little background of the story in question: in Oklahoma, Tulsa County Deputy Gerald Nuckolls was arrested for assaulting at least two women. He confessed to the crime, lost his job, and went to jail. A Facebook page called Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops posted the following picture with a quote attributed to Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain George Brown. At the time of publication, this image had been shared over 6,000 times.

Screenshot from the Facebook page "Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops."

Screenshot from the Facebook page “Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops.”

So, the question is did this high-ranking member of Oklahoma’s Highway Patrol blame the incidents on the women who were assaulted? Not really. Along with the image, the Facebook page also posted a YouTube video as evidence which was hosted on a channel called “Krupt Kopps” which only has this one video uploaded. The original video from KJRH can be found here. The image was also part of a story from a site called “Revolution-News.com,” which seems to be a left-leaning, Occupy-styled website.

Here’s the problem: the quote “then follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over” comes from the newscaster at the end of the video, not the Highway Patrol captain. This quote pulls two parts of the entire news story together completely out of context. Captain George Brown’s appearance on the video tells people about what they should expect when dealing with law enforcement when pulled over and offers safety tips. However, the deputy who was arrested for assaulting women was responding to a call at a residence, not making a traffic stop. The “then follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over” quote is also not only not uttered on the video by the officer, but it’s at the end of the video when the anchor is talking about traffic stops, and not directly in regards to the story about the accused deputy.

Obviously, as this story showed in reference to the deputy who is now in jail, there are bad cops out there. Many accounts of police brutality and corruption are indeed true, but let’s look at what’s really going on here. First of all, the page Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops isn’t in Oklahoma. So why would they be “reporting” the officer’s remarks which are taken completely out of context? Let’s look at the pages Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops lists as favorites. These pages include Cop Block which Allen Clifton exposed last month as being part of an anti-government propaganda machine. They also “like” a Cliven Bundy support page, a Libertarian PAC out of Utah,  Alex Jones from Infowars, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze page, just to name a few. See a pattern here?

The unfortunate thing is that this image was shared within a few progressive/liberal groups that I belong to, and the vast majority of people angrily responded without bothering to stop for a just a few seconds and use some critical thinking skills. Yes, we always want to hold the police accountable and punish members of law enforcement when they abuse their power, which is what happened in the case of this Oklahoma deputy. But pages like Cop Block and Corrupt Frisco Texas Cops aren’t interested in accountability as much as they seem to be interested in portraying all officers of the law in a bad light whenever possible, to further push their anti-government/anti-law enforcement agenda.

When we see an accusation made against law enforcement, we should certainly be concerned and seek justice. But we should also exercise our critical thinking skills and make sure we aren’t spreading manipulated or outright false information which furthers the agenda of radical anti-government interests.

*UPDATE* 09/25/14

Captain George Brown sent me the following email response about this story:

Mr. Schewitz,

I wanted to personally thank you for helping set the record straight,
regarding the recent negative comments directed toward me on social media.
Your article nailed it!

I was asked by a Tulsa television station to participate in an interview
regarding traffic stops made by state troopers. The station said they were
receiving comments from female viewers stating they, (females) were afraid
of recent alleged assaults by Oklahoma law enforcement.

The photographer made no mention of our interview being used along side a
story about the Tulsa County Deputy arrested for sexual assault(s). I made
several comments and gave tips about how troopers conduct traffic stops and
what motorists should look for from the trooper. At NO TIME did I ever
make a comment about “the best way to not get raped is to follow the law”.
The news station who conducted the interview decided to run my interview on
the heels of the Tulsa Deputy story, giving the impression it was all one
story. Now a few radical anti-police social media sites have embellished
the interview and made false statements (allegedly from me) in quotes, in
an apparent character assassination to further their anti-government

I can assure you this statement is untrue and there is no taped interview
of me or any member of the patrol making any statement to that effect.
This is a blatant libel and defamation of character in order to misinform
the public about recent events surrounding law enforcement.

I’ve dedicated the largest portion of my career to helping bridge the gap
between law enforcement and media relations, and still have a deep love and
respect for media and professional journalists everywhere.

This has been one of the most trying and emotional events I’ve had to
endure since entering the public affairs arena over 14 years ago. People
have been attacking me personally and attempting character assassination
which strikes at the very heart of what I stand for. I am a public servant
and soldier of the law. I have been and always will be an advocate for
victims and victim’s rights.

For nearly 18 years as a state trooper, I’ve gladly laid my life on the
line countless times for people whom I didn’t know and have never met. Now
this negative social media attention has surely tested my faith.
Nevertheless, I’ll continue to stand up for victims everywhere and provide
words of support for anyone who has fallen victim to senseless violations
by lawbreakers, regardless of what context it is taken in.

In my humble opinion sir, I represent the finest law enforcement agency in
the state of Oklahoma. My brothers and sisters in law enforcement change
lives for the better each and every day. Sometimes our work is scrutinized
and we receive criticism from those who refuse to place themselves in harms
way for a stranger. I chose this profession because I believe my actions
will help someone in need, and if I help just one person in 20+ years of
service to my state, then all the criticism and scrutiny I’ve received is
worth the effort. I will never forget that I belong to something greater
than myself and I’ll continue to serve no matter how difficult things get
for me.

I appreciate your time in researching the truth and setting the record

Very respectfully,
Captain George Brown #47
Commander, Public Affairs
Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Watch the full, unedited interview here and see for yourself exactly what he said, and in what context he said it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DYNdqwx3LU


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