Apr 26, 2011

A Tulsa, Oklahoma elementary school principal is fighting to have her case dismissed following a March incident in which she was arrested after asking if police searching her daughter's residence had a warrant to do so.

The case of Lynnette Dixon is about a black woman speaking up in a city where one race usually rules, civil rights leaders and Dixon's lawyer say.

That point was made clear in an email made public last week in which the Tulsa schools chief of police told Tulsa police officers the system wanted to fire Dixon, and her arrest would help their case.

"It's like we still are in 1921. They don't like for you to bring up the Tulsa race riots, but they still have not dealt with it," Tulsa NAACP President Dr. William Blakney told BlackAmericaWeb.com. "As a minister, I have lived all over the country - Alabama, Oregon, Missouri - but this is the most racist place I have ever lived."

The incident began on March 7, when police went to the residence of Dixon's daughter who lives in subsidized housing. A neighbor had accused the daughter and her boyfriend of burglary, according to her attorney, Richard O'Carroll.

Police were going through the apartment when Dixon arrived. She asked her daughter if the officers searching her home had a warrant. She also told her daughter to get the officers' badge numbers, according to O'Carroll.

"Ms. Dixon asked them what they were doing. Instead of asking her to be quiet, they told her to leave," O'Carroll told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Dixon was charged with obstructing a police officer and fined $200, according to O'Carroll. She was placed on paid leave from the Tulsa Public School System, but the incident could cost Dixon her job as principal of Hawthorne Elementary School, the lawyer said.

Blakney is calling Tulsa ministers together later this week to support Dixon and her school, he said. 

"Ms. Dixon is a good principal. The parents are supporting her. The school is not at risk," he said. "She meets all of the challenges and deals with them, helping the children to succeed."

Hawthorne has 430 students, and 99.7 percent of the students are on either free or reduced lunch. An overwhelmingly majority of the students – 94 percent – are African-American, according to the school's web site.

"This is not only affecting Ms. Dixon. It's affecting the students and their families," Blakney said.

School officials told BlackAmericaWeb.com they could not comment on Ms. Dixon, or the email from Tulsa Public Schools Police Chief Gary Rudick, obtained by NewsChannel 8.

Here is an excerpt of the email to Tulsa police made public in Oklahoma and dated March 8:

"I am sure you know the fat is in the fire over the arrest of Principal Lynette Dixon. The NAACP is having a support mtg for a public show of support tonight. We served a suspension letter on Dixon this afternoon and about 40 people were at her home all bitching about the racists cops we all are.

"We want to fire this woman so your case is important to us. I've got Collburn on this from our end gathering admin data. He spoke to your guys. We intend to interview the security guards. Here is what I think is the best course.

"We don't want any reports or statements on paper that are not already a matter of public record. I suspect that when we fire her that her attorney will want a hearing and try to do discovery at the hearing on anything we use. For that reason, we are simply putting a report together that is based on our interviews and what is already public, nothing more. That way if we go to an admin hearing BEFORE the court proceeding, we don't have a lot for them to do discovery on. However, chances are good that the attorney would subpoena your guys to our admin hearing in order to do exactly that........ discovery of what the case would be about."

"If the criminal case is dismissed it will hurt us badly in trying to fire this woman. I think someone from TPD needs to make sure the Prosecutors are on board this case and don't dismiss it out of hand or bow to public pressure. There will be a great deal of pressure on this as we've been getting calls here and to the Sup's office all day.

"I am so glad that your guys arrested her ..."


  1. wow! I can't believe that the police had to arrest the principle she had the rights to help her child and it was her buesnissto know what had happen and I feel that the police had mis juge her because she was a black african american and was a good person that is just my thought.

  2. she is BLACK and was ARRESTED because she want help her child.