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Race Relations and Policing in Tulsa: Where Should We Go from Here?

KWGS News File Photo
Aired on Thursday, May 18th.

Last night, a jury here in Tulsa acquitted one Betty Shelby -- a white Tulsa Police officer -- who had been charged with first-degree manslaughter after she shot and killed an unarmed black man named Terence Crutcher last September. Some people in this community feel that justice has been served, while others feel, as was stated by Rev. Joey Crutcher, the victim's father, after the verdict came down: "I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder." Where does Tulsa go from here? There is a long history of difficult race relations in this city; that history (as anyone hailing from Tulsa will admit) is basically as old as the city itself. But, given that history, and given, also, last night's "not guilty" ruling, what are the best -- that is, what are the most productive and most promising -- steps that Tulsa should take going forward? Our two guests on ST address this question: Drew Diamond is a nationally known expert on community policing (as well as a former Tulsa Police Chief) and Marq Lewis is the organizer of We The People Oklahoma, a locally based social justice and civil rights group.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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