Community Leaders, TPD Officer Try To Ease Tension After Fatal Shooting
TULSA, Oklahoma - Community leaders are working to calm heightened tensions in north Tulsa after a fatal officer-involved shooting.
Two deputies and a Tulsa police officer shot and killed 29-year-old Joshua Barre Friday morning.
Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley said sheriff's deputies followed Barre to the Super Stop on MLK and 46th Street North around 10:00 a.m.
Video shows two men inside the building when Barre opens the door with two knives clenched in his hand. Police fired, saying they were concerned for the safety of the men inside.
Moments after the shooting, hundreds of people gathered at the scene – some angry, some sad.
"De-escalating the situation is a real challenge when you're dealing with people that are that angry, and rightfully so, coming off the heels of the Crutcher case and the verdict," said Morning Star Baptist Church pastor, Dr. Rodney Goss.
He was one of many religious leaders who showed up to help people release their emotions and to calm the crowd.
Goss believes that it’s his job to be a valve for people - to listen and not judge.
"The picture that's painted is that it's them against us, and so there was no bridge being built. There was no connection. There was no way to empathize," he said.
Goss said perception is key, and that it’s difficult to build that bridge with the current climate.
Community Police Officer Amley Floyd, known as Popsey, grew up in the area and is also working to calm tensions.
His tactic, a simple handshake and communication.
"I just wanted to open up a line of communication so after all this is over with we can still have that relationship and that friendship," he said.
Floyd also believes a way for people to make change is to get involved, whether that be applying for a job in policing or simply taking part in your community.
"You can show up to the meetings, show up to community meetings, reach out to the police officers that work your neighborhood," Floyd said.
While both believe change is possible, they say actions speak louder than words.
“Don't let this yellow tape create a barrier. We have to be willing to go beyond this yellow tape and just become a community," said Floyd.
Goss said, "We need some tangible action. Something that people can see to know that change is imminent."