Joint Letter of Appeal to Tulsa Police Department and Mayor

TO: Tulsa Police Department; Tulsa Mayor’s Office

We, the undersigned, represent the diverse communities of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a group of citizens concerned about the status of policing in our dear city. We are writing you to urge you to ensure a fair, just, and transparent investigation into the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, to cooperate fully with the Justice Department’s investigation, and to develop training, standards, and policies for Tulsa police that will ensure safer, healthier communities.

We respectfully request that the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Police Department ensure that Officer Betty Shelby, in addition to the other officers involved in the death of Terence Crutcher, is fully investigated, and to then take all appropriate legal and disciplinary actions. . We trust that the Police Department will maintain transparency with regards to its disciplinary proceedings and will closely examine other similar incidents, with the goal of reducing the total number of police shootings and bringing Oklahoma off the top of the list for officer-involved killings this year. Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest rates of police killings in the nation, the victims of which are most likely to be some combination of poor, mentally ill, black, or Native American. Statistics compiled by Campaign Zero show that black men were 36% of those killed by Tulsa police since 2013, despite only comprising 8% of the population. Oklahoma is part of a national problem of police violence in communities of color, and we call on Oklahoma leadership to take part in the conversations that will help heal this breach. We call on the City of Tulsa to investigate the conduct of Officer Shelby in addition to the other officers involved in the death of unarmed civilians and to draft policies that will bring this regrettable trend to a close.

Additionally, we hope that the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Police Department will comply fully with the Justice Department’s investigation and their recommendations. The Justice Department has overseen dozens of investigations into the conduct of law enforcement agencies all over the country. They have made recommendations for cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and Albuquerque, including the use of body cameras, independent oversight of police departments, and community-police partnerships. In many cases, their recommendations have included concrete steps that law enforcement agencies can take to support their officers and also maintain the safety of their citizens. We therefore call on the City of Tulsa, and the state of Oklahoma, to comply fully with the findings and recommendations of the Justice Department and to commit to following through with positive changes that will safeguard the rights of all.

Finally, we hope that the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Police Department will work to develop safer standards and training for law enforcement officers that will ensure that the civil rights of all Tulsa residents are protected. We understand that officers must act according to their own perception of the situation, and have deep respect for those men and women who put themselves on the line to protect us. However, we recognize that there is a deep breach of trust when unarmed, non-dangerous civilians are extrajudicially executed. We sincerely hope that this incident, while disturbing and tragic, will galvanize the law enforcement community to examine their relationships with overpoliced demographics such as Black Americans and Native Americans, and to build and maintain healthy relationships with all minority communities. We also recognize that this incident comes a few short months after former Tulsa volunteer deputy Robert Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, an unarmed black man, in April 2015. The shooting also comes less than a year after former Oklahoma

City Police officer Daniel Hotlzclaw was sentenced to more than 250 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of primarily black women over the course of three years. While the vast majority of law enforcement officers are hardworking, respectful, kind, and responsible, we expect our law enforcement communities to open a conversation about how they determine who is qualified to join their ranks and who represents the demographic reality of the diverse Tulsa community. We therefore call on the Tulsa law enforcement community to develop culturally competent training, including instruction in de- escalation procedures, and higher standards for officer candidates to ensure that officers on the streets are best equipped to work with the communities they serve.

Tulsa leadership, and the Tulsa Police Department, have worked hard to build relationships with the diverse communities of our great city, and we want to express our deep appreciation for the hard work of our law enforcement community. However, we also recognize that there is room for improvement, and we hope that this troubling incident becomes the catalyst for positive conversations and changes that will preserve the dignity of all Tulsa citizens and the safety of all law enforcement personnel. We, the undersigned, as representatives of organizations throughout the state of Oklahoma, put ourselves at your disposal should you desire our input in the coming weeks and months as our community works through this difficult time, and we look forward to a peaceful and constructive dialogue with you.

With our best wishes,

Veronica Laizure

Civil Rights Director, Council on American- Islamic Relations, Oklahoma Chapter

Moises Echeverria

Interim President and CEO, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice

Dr. Gary Peluso-Verdend

President, Phillips Theological Seminary

Rev. Chris Moore

Senior Minister, Fellowship Congregational UCC

Anna Marie Carter

Joan Korenblit

Executive Director, Respect Diversity Foundation

Noel Jacobs, PhD

Program Director, Common Ground Community

of Oklahoma

Aliye Shimi

Associate Director, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry

Outreach/PR Director, Islamic Society of Tulsa

Tara Grigson

President, Pride at TU and HeadStrong: Student

Advocates for Mental Health

President, Oklahoma Black Leadership Development Institute

Michael Korenblit

President, Respect Diversity Foundation

Rev. Bob Lawrence

Executive Director, Tulsa Interfaith Alliance

Linda Sarsour


Carl J. Rubenstein, MD

President, Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma

Linda Davis

Executive Director, United Campus Ministry at the University of Tulsa

Rev. Kelli Driscoll

Pastor of Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Melissa Lewis

Co-founder, The Dreamers’ Initiative

Michael W. Brose, MSW

Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Association Oklahoma

YWCA Tulsa

Sarah Adams-Cornell

Live Indigenous OK Foundation

Justin DaMetz

Programs Coordinator, United Campus Ministry at the University of Tulsa
Student, Phillips Theological Seminary

Leslie Daugherty

Executive Director, Teach for America – GreaterTulsa

Rev. Dr. Lisa W. Davison

Johnnie Eargle Cadieux Professor of Hebrew Bible, Phillips Theological Seminary

Jean Marie Neal

Administrative Coordinator, John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation

Pastor, New Faith Baptist Church