Tulsa Mayor, City Leaders Unite At Vigil For Justice

Wednesday, September 21st 2016, 6:39 pm
By: News On 6

Hundreds packed a north Tulsa church Wednesday night, calling for peace and unity following the shooting of Terence Crutcher.

The gathering was called 'Vigil for Justice, Cries of the Community: A Time to Lament'. 

The interfaith vigil was held Wednesday at the Metropolitan Church but was a combination of local churches, and drew hundreds of people, including Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and many city leaders.

The service was organized to honor Terence Crutcher's life, the city's grief, and the community's future. 

GoFundMe Created For Crutcher Family

"The vigil seeks to address the issue of police violence against the black community and to provide an outlet for the cries of the community through spoken word, prayer and song," Metropolitan Baptist Church stated in a news release.

People who attended the vigil came to "Unite T-Town."

Jeanine Lyles, "I'm really proud of Tulsa, Oklahoma, just us coming together right now. We're just uniting, not violently, just peacefully to let them know that changes will be made," Jeanine Lyles said. "It's overwhelming - black, white, Jewish. We're all coming together right now for a purpose of change. It's time. It's very time."

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

Erica Ivey said, "I feel like tonight was very needed for our community to start healing racial relations. My heart grieves for the Crutcher family, having growing up knowing them in the church community, and I think this is needed. We need to stop the hate and get to learning to love each other and re recognize humanity."

The Tulsa City Council canceled its Wednesday meeting so that they the city leaders could attend the commemorative services for Crutcher. 

In an emailed statement, the city council wrote: 

"Tulsa City Councilors express their deepest sympathies to Terence Crutcher’s family at this time of mourning.  We also want to express our continued support for our police department that works every day to serve our citizens.

No one wanted this tragedy to occur – not Mr. Crutcher or his family, nor the police officers, our city, or our nation.  But Friday night did happen, and it happened in Tulsa.  For decades, our citizens have worked hard to heal the wounds of the past and to erase racial and economic barriers for the future – but we still have a lot of work to do.  This tragedy must become a major element of our ongoing work, and it must shape and inform our future.

We are proud - and profoundly grateful – that our fellow city leaders, our law enforcement officials, and our community are working together peacefully to find justice in this case, and to focus on how we can make Tulsa better for all of its citizens.  We are all committed to an accountable and transparent process to ensure all the facts are known and justice is served."

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett also said President Barack Obama called him Wednesday. Bartlett said the president was very complementary of the city and how the situation has been handled.

9/21/2016 Related Story: President Obama Calls Tulsa Mayor Over Crutcher Shooting