6 BLACK BUS DRIVERS RETAIN ATTORNEY SOLOMON-SIMMONS TO SUE METROPOLITAN TULSA TRANSIT AUTHORITY

NOVEMBER 5, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS CONTACT: BRENDA BOYD, LEGAL ASSISTANT RiggsAbney Law
(918) 587-3161 bboyd@riggsabney.com

Lawyers for six Black former Tulsa Bus Drivers who were fired, arrested, extorted, jailed, and publically humiliated because of racial discrimination filed a 7 count civil rights lawsuit against MTTA and its top executives, William “Bill” Cartwright, Mike Colbert, and Debbie Mulkey.

Plaintiffs Justin Copeland, Lawrence Morgan, Kenneth Speed, Beverly Drew, John Smith, and Leroy King, through their attorneys, Damario Solomon-Simmons and Melvin Hall of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, PC., filed the federal lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of Oklahoma Federal Court based in Tulsa. Plaintiffs were MTTA bus drivers with over 65 years of combined exemplary service to the City of Tulsa. Plaintiffs’ lives were destroyed because of MTTA’s bogus claims that plaintiffs illegally printed too many courtesy (free) bus passes.

The lawsuit highlights include:

● Two separate Tulsa County judges ruled that the criminal charges against the bus drivers were without any merit.
● There were other bus drivers who did not receive any discipline even though they printed as many or more free bus passes as Plaintiffs.
● MTTA had no proof that Plaintiffs ever stole, sold, or personally profited from the free 2-Ride Courtesy Passes.
● MTTA and its executives utilized the Tulsa Police Department as its private collection agency and extorted thousands of dollars from Plaintiffs.
● MTTA utilized the unfounded charges against the bus drivers to obtain over $30,000 in insurance proceeds.
● MTTA and its executives illegally withheld Plaintiffs’ final paychecks for almost six (6) months in violation of Oklahoma law.
● MTTA threated plaintiffs with retaliation if plaintiffs attempted to assert their legal rights

“We believe a jury will agree that MTTA’s and its executive’s abuse of power was repugnant to our Constitution and affirm to the defendants that these Black bus drivers’ reputation, dignity, liberty, and lives mattered,” said Plaintiffs’ attorneys Hall and Solomon-Simmons.

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