Tulsa residents have a long way to go in healing racial tensions, said Mayor GT Bynum at a news conference Thursday morning.
Bynum, along with Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan, addressed the media about 12 hours after the verdict was delivered in the Officer Betty Shelby manslaughter trial.
The 12-member jury consisting of six white women, three white men, two African-American women and one African-American man.
Bynum said the Crutcher family are good people who experienced terrible loss, and he also said need to recognize men, women of the police department are good people who put their lives on the line everyday.
Bynum said TPD officers encounter situations that citizens can't imagine.
Bynum said the city has has to admit that a divide exists and we have a long way to go to repair that.
African Americans have not been the instigators of riots but the victims and Tulsa has a long way to go if the people expect the worse of them, the mayor said.
Bynum has enlisted a commission of citizens and officers and they issued 77 ideas to improve the city.
The mayor went on to say that all officers will have body cameras.
Bynum said racial disparity is great moral issue of our time and change can't happen until we acknowledge them. He said he welcomes citizens to join the effort to erase racial disparity.
Chief Chuck Jordan said the police department is committed to protecting the rights of protestors, and he commends both officers & protesters for actions Wednesday night.
Jordan said TPD is currently analyzing the status of Betty Shelby's employment.
Bynum issued a statement after the verdict delivery Wednesday night:
“After considering days of testimony and undergoing its own deliberation, the jury has spoken. I appreciate the jurors’ service to our community and respect their verdict. But this verdict does not alter the course on which we are adamantly set. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers in making our community safer. And no one has been calling for the resources to implement community policing more actively over a longer period of time than the men and women of our Tulsa Police Department. So we are moving forward together – Tulsans from all parts of the city, police officers and everyday citizens – with a unified purpose to make this a better place for all of us.”