Tulsa police say gay activist Keith
Kimmel was physically and verbally aggressive during an arrest just
days before he was found dead, local ABC affiliate KTUL reported.
Kimmel was found dead Wednesday morning
by a friend who wrote on Kimmel's
Facebook page: “There is no way easy to say this. Keith has
been staying with me for a few days, and this morning at 7:45AM I
found him dead in my living room chair.”
Kimmel first made headlines last year
when he sued the Oklahoma Tax Commission for refusing his request for
a personalized 'IM GAY' license plate. He said the right to display
his sexuality on a license plate was protected free speech and noted
that the state had issued similar plates for straight people,
including 'STR8SXI' and 'STR8FAN.'
Two days before his death, Kimmel filed
a complaint against Tulsa police in which he claimed that officers
called to the scene over the weekend to break up a fight at The End
Up Club, a gay stripped bar, “beat him,” made “crude comments
about my weight” and “several derogatory remarks were made with
regard to my sexual orientation and the entertainers and/or patrons
of the bar.”
He called the incident a “blatant
hate crime” in the complaint.
“From the onset, point of contact, he
was verbally aggressive, physically aggressive and resistant at that
point,” Jason Willingham from the Tulsa Police Department told the
Kimmel was taken into custody but never
booked. Officers instead drove him to St. John Medical Center.
In his complaint, Kimmel includes
various photographs of injuries he sustained, including a foot-long
bruise on his stomach.
An autopsy has been ordered to
determine the cause of death.