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Hundreds Join Al Sharpton In Tulsa Protest Against Terence Crutcher’s Death

Protesters marched from the Greenwood Cultural Center to Tulsa City Hall in a demonstration over Terence Crutcher's death.
Matt Trotter
Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
Protesters marched from the Greenwood Cultural Center to Tulsa City Hall in a demonstration over Terence Crutcher's death.

Protesters demanding justice for an unarmed black man shot by Tulsa police earlier this month marched to Tulsa's city hall Tuesday.

The demonstrators gathered at the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, marking a day of justice called for last week by Crutcher's family, their attorneys and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was on hand to lead the march. The national civil rights leader praised Tulsa police for releasing video of the shooting but said there are more steps to take.

"We need to know why all of the police there — what is going to be the disciplinary action there? I want to know what is going to be done for his four children," Sharpton said.

Some have criticized Sharpton's involvement in the wake of Crutcher's death, but state Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, welcomed his presence.

"The wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, and when you have experience and when you have folks that care and folks that can bring to the table what needs to be brought to the table, we need anybody to come into this town that is about justice," Goodwin said.

Faith and community leaders addressed the crowd and led chants of "Hands Up, Don't Sshoot!" until Sharpton arrived to lead the demonstration. Tiffany Crutcher was among the speakers and reminded protesters to be peaceful. Tiffany said the protest is in no way anti-cop, but they must fight back against bad cops.

"For my brother, my twin brother. For his children. For my parents. For everybody that died before him," Crutcher said. "And we're going to stop it today, so hands up, don't shoot. Let's go to war."

The protesters then made the peaceful, three-quarter mile walk from the Greenwood Cultural Center.

Blocks away at the Tulsa County Courthouse, a much smaller crowd gathered to show solidarity with police and Officer Betty Shelby, who's been charged with first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Crutcher.

Supporter Julia Clayton told The Tulsa World’s Corey Jones there's still a lot of uncertainty about what happened on September 16.

“If that was me having to do that situation, I don't know how I would've reacted, because you're having to try to put puzzle pieces together in two minutes or less,” Clayton said.

Shelby is due in court Friday morning for an arraignment. She’s currently free on bond.

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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.
Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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