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Sharpton Plans Tulsa Rally To ‘Demand Justice’; Candidates React To Crutcher Shooting

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, speaks to the media at the National Action Center in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 about the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa. He's joined by Attorney Benjamin Crump (right), and Crutcher's father (bow tie).
Joseph Frederick
The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, speaks to the media at the National Action Center in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 about the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa. He's joined by Attorney Benjamin Crump (right), and Crutcher's father (bow tie).

The Rev. Al Sharpton says he's planning a rally in Tulsa on Tuesday to demand justice for the family of an unarmed black man killed Friday by a white police officer.

The civil rights leader called allegations Terence Crutcher may have been under the influence of drugs "bogus."

"Let a jury hear the facts,” Sharpton said. “But don't try and smear this young man in death as you smeared his blood in that highway."

Sharpton and members of Crutcher's family spoke Wednesday at the headquarters of Sharpton's National Action Network in New York. Sharpton also called on presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to discuss the relationship between police and minority communities during Monday night's debate.

"If you're going to be the next president, this president has put a commission out. This president has an attorney general. What will you do?” Sharpton asked. “And how will you deal with this issue that is seemingly so prevalent in our country and our society?”

Crutcher’s father said his son did exactly what he always told him to do when approached by law enforcement.

“What do you do when you get stopped by the police? I say put your hands up. Put them up so they can see them, so they can know that you don't have a gun,” the Rev. Joey Crutcher said. “And that's what he was doing. I say put your hands on the car. He was walking to the car, and they shot him down like he was a dog."

The White House says President Obama has called Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett to offer his condolences and affirm the administration's commitment to provide assistance as needed.

Bartlett says the president complimented the city and police chief Chuck Jordan for the transparency, outreach to Crutcher's family and for making sure justice prevails.

Bartlett told The Tulsa World’s Jarrel Wade the president asked what he could do to help during their phone conversation Wednesday:

“Please ask people to not react the way they are in Charlotte,” Bartlett said. “There is no reason to put police officers in jeopardy.” Obama agreed, Bartlett said. “It was good,” Bartlett said of the conversation and the atmosphere in Tulsa in the aftermath of the shooting. “Today was a good day. I think we’re doing fine. I think everything so far is doing well.”

The White House says Obama will continue to get updates on the situations from Attorney General Loretta Lynch and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Presidential Candidates React

Trump says he's seen video of Friday's shooting death of an unarmed black man by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, and to him, it looked like Terence Crutcher did everything right.

“This young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking, I don’t know what she was thinking. But I'm very, very troubled by that,” Trump said.

During an appearance Wednesday at a church in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Trump said he’s a "tremendous believer in the police and law enforcement."

His Democratic rival said on Facebook this week Crutcher's death "is just unbearable, and it needs to be intolerable."

Clinton also addressed a similar shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina during a Wednesday campaign event in Orlando.

"There is still much we don't know about what happened in both incidents, but we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers in these encounters,” Clinton said.

Clinton also praised police officers across the country who she says serve with “extraordinary service, honor, and skill.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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