Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King confirmed Monday morning that despite claims on social media, no homeless person was handed a $500 ticket for violating the Tahlequah mayor and City Council's executive order for a curfew.
On April 5, a complaint began circulating on social media, reporting that an officer with the Tahlequah Police Department issued a citation to a homeless man who was out after the 10 p.m. curfew.
“The Tahlequah Police Department just gave a homeless man a $500 ticket because he broke curfew related to COVID-19. He doesn’t have a f**king home,” the post said on the Facebook page belonging to "Okay, Boomer."
But King said that's not the whole story.
He said that out of the five citations issued over the weekend, two were for public drunk, two for petit larceny, and one for loitering. The public drunk and loitering citations were for the same person – a man who was arrested after TPD received a complaint from employees at a Subway restaurant.
“I’ve gone through tickets, and we even had one paper ticket written,” said King. “A total of five citations were written over the weekend. Not one was for executive order violation. None of them appear to be for a homeless person, either.”
One commenter on the Facebook page was quick to denounce officers, and even wished ill on them.
“F**king scumbags. I hope they wrap [their] car around a pole,” the post read.
According to the executive order approved last week, police officers could issue a citation for $500 or jail time to those out during the curfew hours, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. However, in explaining the intent during a videoconference, King said only the most egregious and repetitive offenders would be cited. He said that dog walking, driving to and from work, and other reasons for being out late would not constitute violations, and added the order was aimed mainly at large groups of people hanging around late in violation of the "shelter-from-home" order.
King stressed that as of Monday morning, no citations have been issued for executive order violations.
Attempts by the Daily Press to retrieve a copy of the supposed citation from those claiming they'd seen it were unsuccessful.