Former Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Ben Fu Running for Top Prosecutor Job

By MATT TROTTER | Public Radio Tulsa

A former assistant district attorney to Steve Kunzweiler is challenging him to be Tulsa County’s top prosecutor.

Ben Fu said Wednesday his first priority will be rebuilding the relationship between the DA’s office and law enforcement agencies, with the first step being his staff going through use-of-force training.

“So that we can decline with confidence those charges where officers honored their higher duty to serve and protect … and in those rare instances when those officers violate their duty to protect and serve, to equip prosecutors to secure a conviction that our community can be confident in,” Fu said.

In separate incidents, Kunzweiler charged former Tulsa cop Betty Shelby and former Tulsa reserve deputy Bob Bates with manslaughter. Both officers killed an unarmed black man while on duty.

Shelby was acquitted, while Bates was convicted.

Fu said the work he’s proudest of during his time in the DA’s office is establishing the special victims unit, which quadrupled the number of sex crime convictions after its first year. Fu’s vision for the office if elected is broad. He said it’s out of step with a county brimming with promise under new leadership.

“I see an office that is plagued with underfunding and record turnover. An administration that watches as prosecutor after prosecutor leaves this county to continue their same good work in other jurisdictions,” Fu said.

Fu said he wants prosecutors to focus on reducing violent crime.

“And to that end, I promise to invoke policy that is data-driven common sense in order to prevent crime by working and coordinating with the police and probation and parole to remove the glut of illegal guns from our streets,” Fu said.

He also said he would prioritize partnerships with faith groups and charities to allow for more participation in diversion programs for nonviolent offenses.

Fu left the DA’s office for private practice a year ago after starting under former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris. Kunzweiler was elected in 2014 and announced last month he will run for re-election.

The filing deadline is next month, with the primary election in June. Former Tulsa County prosecutor and current private practice attorney Jenny Proehl-Day has filed to run as a Democrat.