Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus chair, Sen. Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, issued the following statement Thursday on behalf of the caucus outlining recommendations for law enforcement across the state and calling for peaceful protests following Friday evening’s police shooting of Terence Crutcher.
“After being involved with prayer groups, private video screenings with the Tulsa Police Department, public protests, and many discussions with our constituents and friends within our districts and across the country, the members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus have come to some very clear conclusions. We are calling for immediate implementation of body cameras with all police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and other communities that have them. There should be no delay in the utilization of this crucial tool that assures the best opportunity to have transparency and protection for the public and officers doing their jobs as expected.
“We are pleased that the Tulsa Chief of Police Chuck Jordan was forthright in producing the available video footage immediately. Chief Jordan stated that this was a criminal investigation of homicide and that ‘justice will be served.’ The fact remains that body cameras would have given even more clarification to the actions that took place prior to Terence’s unnecessary death.
“We also are calling for more aggressive efforts to hire, utilize, and empower African Americans and others which reflect the culture of the African American communities in Tulsa and across our state. Community policing models that reduce the likelihood of unnecessary shooting deaths of citizens and police officers are available and should be in use.
“We are asking for protests to be peaceful, but emotions and tension continue to rise because of the perception that justice does not work the same when a citizen’s life is lost versus those who serve us. This incident underscores the crucial need for inclusion and healing in our cities and the State of Oklahoma. Justice needs to be swift and decisive, because the world is watching.”—Sen. Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus Chair