The following is a short Q&A this reporter had with local rapper and eastside native Jabee Williams Thursday. He was at Kerr Park in downtown Oklahoma City to join a protest of Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
On June 26 Prater announced that he had filed charges of incitement to riot, rioting, and terrorism charges against persons at protests May 30 and 31 and for persons at an incident June 24.
The charges drew harsh criticism from ACLU – Oklahoma and Black Lives Matter OKC – Oklahoma City.
Four of the original five charged with incitement to riot for the incident in the doorway to the police headquarters turned themselves in Wednesday. They were aged 18 to 20 with their bail set for $200,000 each. The sight of people so young facing such charges saddened and angered those close to the Black Lives Matter movement in Oklahoma City.
The fifth person originally charged had charges dropped because of a mistake in the police report to the DA.
In response, a protest was held in Kerr Park Thursday.
To learn more: Protesters focus criticism on DA David Prater at OKC rally
This interview has been edited for readability.
Free Press: Do you think these charges are over the top?
Jabee: I think they’re over the top. I think they are excessive. I think they are an abuse of power.
You know, I think it’s a chance to flex your muscle. And, I think it’s a chance to try to scare people and intimidate people. It’s like hanging a cross in my front yard to scare me not to come out the house. That’s what he’s trying to do.
Free Press: Give us some insight on what you’re hearing among people you’re around.
Jabee: Well, we’re not surprised. To be clearly honest, White supremacy is going to support and protect White supremacy.
I’m never surprised by White supremacy. I’m never surprised by the act of White people because anytime they can, they will show me that they’re White and I’m Black. And that’s what he’s doing.
Free Press: Do you think other public officials have spoken up enough on this issue?
Jabee: I don’t think so. And, I think that the ones who have said things – the ones who disagree – need to be bolder. The ones who are White in particular need to speak out and let people know that this shouldn’t happen.
You can’t just disagree and say, man, that’s wrong, especially if you’re a public official, because your duty as a public official is to protect and be there for your public.
Your voice in your platform is way louder than any of ours. So it’s important that you speak up and be more bold and let people know and let your person – this other white man – know what he’s doing is wrong.
Free Press: If a DA was doing things the way that you think would be the right way to do it, how would they be doing it right now?
Jabee: A good DA would say Black lives matter. A good DA would say it’s important that these people are able to express and protest the way that the Constitution allows us to.
I think that a good DA would see this and say we need to drop all these charges because these kids are out here because of their heart. They are here because of their passion because people are dying. They are out here because of Isaiah Thomas, because of George Floyd.
If anybody should be charged with terrorism, it should be the police. The police are the ones terrorizing people, terrorizing the streets. That’s terrorism.
I’m saying when an officer follows me from Broadway to my house past MLK [street], I’m being terrorized. That has happened to me.
So, if we’re going to really start to identify what the acts of terrorism are, we need to start there because every action has a reaction. And we’re only acting because of what has happened to us. So, that’s not terrorism.
We’re out here because people have literally been killed. People are literally dying. People are literally imprisoned for things they did not do – for crimes they did not commit. There are people in prison on death row for crimes they did not commit. And our people have been terrorized in this country since day one.
For anybody to say that what has happened is terrorism, they have on blinders. They need their eyes, their souls, their minds, their hearts checked because what they are doing is wrong.
So that’s the kind of DA I would agree with: one that has passion and that has compassion for his people.
I want one who understands what a protest is and what terrorism is. So if he wants to start charging for terrorism, let’s start with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Free Press: Do you think it’s time for somebody to be preparing to run against David Prater?
Jabee: Definitely. To be honest, David Prater is a terrorist himself. I think he needs to look in the mirror. I think that the real terrorist is him.
What he has done to people since he’s been an office is horrible.
I don’t know who it is but it’s time that we get somebody who is really out here to not serve themselves as DA, and not serve white supremacy as DA; but, must serve Oklahoma City as DA.