Former Tulsa cop sentenced to 35 years for robbing Hispanic motorists on duty

Julie Wilson
August 9, 2013

Former Tulsa Police Officer Marvin Blades Jr., 38, was convicted Thursday on five counts of robbery with a firearm, reports KOTV.

Blades Jr. was accused of robbing Hispanic motorists during traffic stops on multiple occasions while on duty, and came under investigation after fellow officers noticed he was acting strangely during traffic stops.

The officer was caught in a sting operation set up by the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) after Blades pulled over undercover OBN agent, Jesse Diaz.

Blades Jr. approached the vehicle in full TPD uniform wearing a Glock .40-caliber pistol and instructed the undercover agent to leave his wallet in the front seat, and asked the agent to stand by the patrol car.

Photo: Courtesy of Tulsa County Jail
Photo: Courtesy of Tulsa County Jail

Diaz testified that “Blades later leaned into the truck and subsequently gave Diaz the wallet back, telling him he was ‘lucky this time’ and allowed him to leave.”

According to the arrest report, the agent was eventually allowed to return to the front of the vehicle and leave. Soon after his release, the agent noticed six one hundred dollar bills missing from his wallet.

Police arrested Blades Jr. hours later and found six one hundred dollar bills in his front pants’ pocket. Blades Jr. claimed the bills belonged to his wife, however investigators were able to match up the serial numbers to the bills used by the undercover agent.

Hispanic Business reports, in a non jury trial Wednesday, agent Diaz testified and confirmed that he was undercover and portraying an “‘immigrant worker’ who didn’t speak English and who had been drinking when he was pulled over by Blades Jr.”

Diaz told the judge he “turned off the truck’s headlights and drove in front of Blade’s patrol car in a successful attempt to get pulled over by Blades.”

The conviction follows a promise made by the Police Chief Chuck Jordon 18 months ago to “clean up the department,” who says they couldn’t have done it without insider police tips.

“I hope this shows the people of Tulsa, that we are going to clean up our own house,” said the Chief.

The Chief also said, “We aren’t going to tolerate criminal and unethical behavior, and I’m very proud of our officers. There is no thin blue line in this department, that protects its own.”

The former Tulsa officer was sentenced to 35 years in prison, followed by 35 years of probation, reports KOTV.

Blades Jr. is the son of former veteran Police Officer Marvin Blades Sr., who worked for the TPD gang unit.

Complaints made by Tulsa citizens and even the NAACP illustrate the sketchy history Blades’ father also had with the TPD.

According to KOTV’s report, “the NAACP called for the then-police chief’s resignation over a 12-day suspension of Blades Sr. in 1995. They claimed it, and his subsequent reassignment to another division, amounted to racial discrimination because Blades Sr. ‘stood up for black officers’ rights.'”

An investigation by Internal Affairs disclosed that Blades Sr. was “suspended for lying about a traffic stop and identifying someone as a gang member in public.”

According to documents from the investigation, there were two reasons Blades Sr. suspected Cox to be a gang member, “a tattoo on Cox’s arm and because he and fellow officer Bill Purifoy pulled over Cox in a traffic stop a few years before.”

An archived report by KOTV in 1995 said, “Christopher Cox was shot and killed by a gang member on May 11, 1994. Tulsa gang officer Marvin Blades [Sr.] later showed a videotape of Cox’s funeral at a seminar and said Cox was a gang member. Cox’s family said that’s a lie. Internal Affairs officers asked Blades about it and found he couldn’t prove Cox was a gang member.”

Contrarily, the medical examiner’s report revealed Cox had no tattoos on his arm.

KOTV’s report showed Blades Sr. was in fact disciplined for lying, but was eventually given back his position on the gang unit, despite suing the city in 1995 in an attempt to appeal his suspension.

Blades Sr. completed 30 more years on the force before leaving to work as a cop at a Tulsa public school.

Although in jail, Blades Jr. plans to file an appeal to overturn his conviction of robbery with a firearm.

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