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Tulsa Students Ask Tough Questions At Police Tactics Symposium

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Students at Edison High School ask questions of a five-person panel on police tactics. Students at Edison High School ask questions of a five-person panel on police tactics.
Police and community members were open for questions. Police and community members were open for questions.
"We the People Oklahoma" are the group behind the grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. "We the People Oklahoma" are the group behind the grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A man whose brother was shot and killed by troopers after a confrontation in May has pleaded guilty. Dash cam video from that night shows troopers tried to get Brandon Fischer and his brother, Nehemiah, out of flood waters. That's when they say Nehemiah attacked the troopers, and they shot and killed him.

Originally, the court said Brandon pleaded guilty to public intoxication and threatening an act of violence, but he actually pleaded no contest. He'll serve a 6-month suspended sentence.

On Tuesday, Brandon and his family talked about that night with students at Edison High School during a police tactics symposium. It was a lesson on how police and the community interact.

For several hours, students at Edison High School asked tough questions of community members about police tactics in America. They had several questions that hit on everything from body cams to social media.

Inside the black box theater at Edison High School, students asked five panelists including retired Tulsa Police Officer Pat Calhoun how police handle everything from "shoot/don't shoot" situations to dealing with minorities.

7/17/2015 Related Story: Autopsy: Tulsa Pastor Shot By Troopers Tested Positive For Alcohol, Sedative

"So, to answer your question, it's a situational deal, and every officer needs to be prepared every day as they're walking out that door from squad meeting for whatever encounter," said retired Tulsa Police Officer Pat Calhoun.

Marq Lewis and his group, "We the People Oklahoma," created a petition that led to a grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office after a reserve deputy shot Eric Harris. Lewis answered questions about how his group handled protests after the Harris shooting.

Students wanted to know what he thought of the riots that broke out across the country following other officer-involved shootings.

"It is imperative for the movement to not change to the narrative of violence," Lewis said. "So, before we started our protests, before we started any march, we always stated that this is a non-violent movement,  and that we do not uphold violence."

Students used the class to further their own research on the topics of policing.

"I feel like it's been super helpful to have just a firsthand experience and a conversation with somebody in law enforcement and that can give you a different view on things because some stuff you find on the internet might not be super reliable," said Madeline Head, junior at Edison. 

"It's really helpful to have, like, a whole panel here to talk just about the issues that we're writing on."

The instructors wanted to give their students the chance to create a discussion through thought-provoking questions. 

"We wanted to give them an opportunity to not just read about things or watch videos, but to actually see people who have experienced both sides of the issues or the many sides of the issues," said AP Seminar Instructor Melissa Kay Hort.

"It really brought to perspective how the community really thinks about police officers in the United States," said junior Nitya Rajagopal.

They ended by talking about how to advance the discussion. The panel agreed police need more body cameras and more objective data on police use of force.

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