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Okla. Co. Commissioner Denies Pushing Man After Vote On CARES Funds

Wednesday, August 19th 2020, 10:56 pm

By: Barry Mangold

Following a contentious week of protests, a contentious moment was caught on camera involving Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey and a county citizen. 

On Wednesday morning, Commissioners Calvey and Brian Maughan voted to use $34 million in federal CARES Act funding, which is intended to soften the economic blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, on improvements for the Oklahoma County Detention Center. 

After the meeting, Calvey met with reporters for an impromptu press conference. 

Calvey was seen on video denying two individuals entry to the press conference, which was held in the county commission meeting room. 

The video was shot by Tyreke Baker, an independent journalist with The Black Times and one of the men who was denied entry. 

The other man in the video is Chad Whitehead, a co-owner of the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City who opposed the use of CARES Act funding on the jail. 

In the video, Calvey appears to place his hand on Whitehead’s chest and move him away from the commission meeting room. 

“I was pretty shocked. I don’t think anyone’s pushed me since, like, recess,” Whitehead said. “I’m curious why Commissioner Calvey was so ruffled and so bothered by the public being involved in the conversation.” 

The press conference was separate from the meeting and was closed to the public, Calvey said in a statement. 

Calvey added he did not push Whitehead, rather he extended his arm and Whitehead walked into him. 

“He was trying to disrupt a discussion I was having with the media in a private area, and I held up my hand as a sign it was not a meeting he was invited to,” Calvey said. “This bully is fabricating outrage.” 

Within a minute of the start of the meeting Wednesday morning, Calvey and Maughan approved allocating the funds to the jail trust. Carrie Blumert, the only commissioner who opposed the measure, was not yet seated at the time of the vote. 

Related Story: County Commission Votes In 47 Seconds To Transfer Millions In CARES Act Funds To Jail

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