Community Leaders, Law Enforcement Preparing For Betty Shelby Verdict

Tuesday, May 16th 2017, 11:05 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The jury in the Betty Shelby manslaughter trial will get instructions Wednesday morning, then closing arguments will begin.

Before the judge let the jury leave for the day, he told them to plan for a long day. He also told them to make arrangements for children and family because no one knows how long it will take to reach a verdict.

The jury will be back in the courtroom at 9:00 Wednesday morning, and, in preparation of the verdict, both Tulsa law enforcement and religious leaders are getting ready.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said it’s been preparing for some time now, and one religious leader said he's urging peace no matter what the outcome.

Undersheriff George Brown said the sheriff’s office spoke with other first responders Tuesday, as well as ensuring routes to the courthouse remain clear.

"People can expect to see more uniformed presence in and around the courthouse. TPD has barricaded the street just north of the courthouse so there cannot be any parked cars in that area," he said.

The undersheriff said the sheriff's office supports the constitutional right for people to speak their mind both peacefully and lawfully.

"We’re very proud of Tulsans. I can say that, unequivocally, these citizens in this area have voiced their opinions but they've done so in a professional manner," Brown said.

Religious leaders are also stressing peace. Senior Pastor Ray Owens says whatever the verdict, people will be angry. He said his role is to help people process those emotions.

Owens believes the city’s transparency, along with the Crutcher family calling for peace and religious leaders stepping in, has helped keep the peace.

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"Rather than destroying someone's property, or, worse than that, violence against another human being, we resorted to prayer, we resorted to protest in the streets, we exercised our first amendment right," he said.

Owens said he and other religious leaders will be present for the closing arguments, helping people process and manage their emotions.

"We're calling for all people, not only themselves, to avoid violence, but, in fact, to spread that message to their sons and to their daughters and those within their sphere of influence," he said.

Brown said the sheriff’s office will have help from other agencies, including Broken Arrow Police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Tulsa Police if need be.