Tulsa Pastors To Push For Changes In Police Policies, Procedures

Friday, September 23rd 2016, 11:47 am
By: Emory Bryan

In the hours after the Terence Crutcher shooting, Tulsa's political and judicial leaders reached out to an important group of religious leaders.

Those leaders, north Tulsa ministers, want to help drive long-term change.

The ministers meet often, and Friday it was to get a message together - in part the call for more black police officers in north Tulsa and more training for the officers already there.

The group of ministers represents thousands of people in their congregations. In the past week, they have been instrumental in maintaining calm.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Shooting Death

Reverend Anthony Scott with First Baptist North Tulsa said, "The way this has been handled has helped to minimize the tensions; and just an open dialogue and transparency has helped to relieve some of the tension."

The pastors say it's no accident that Tulsa's response has been peaceful, as opposed to the violence in Charlotte, but they do not want that to be interpreted as an indication that everything is fine.

“We're praying for peace, but continuing to push for policy change, continuing to push for different policing policies in our city,” said Reverent Sean Jarrett with New Jerusalem Church.

The pastors met before their public announcement to come up with a statement they could all agree on, and the elder statesman of north Tulsa pastors delivered it.

M.C. Potter with Antioch Baptist Church said, "However, we are deeply concerned about the culture of policing communities of color.”

The pastors say their congregations are encouraged by the quick action on the investigation and the peaceful response this week, but, they say they will continue to push for long-term change.

Reverend Weldon Tisdale with Friendship Baptist Church said, “We are hopeful, but because we know that things can change and turn, we don't want to see our hope turn to despair. We are hopeful.”