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How Tulsa kept the peace following the Betty Shelby trial

Posted at 10:51 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 23:55:44-04

TULSA, Okla. — Relief... That’s what Rev. Anthony Scott of First Baptist Church North Tulsa said he felt following the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

It also reminded him of four years ago, when Tulsa was going through a similar case when former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty of manslaughter after shooting and killing Terence Crutcher in Tulsa in 2016.

READ MORE: Terence Crutcher's family calls Betty Shelby verdict unjust, calls for chief to fire TPD sergeant

“The memories they bring back, unfortunately, are tension and anxiety that really leads up to a trial and a verdict," Scott said. "And then the tension and anxiety that exists in the aftermath.”

At the time of the shooting in 2016, then Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett made it a point to work with community leaders to keep the peace. He brought pastors of various churches together to discuss what would happen next.

“We talked about it and we all joined together and decided we were going to do whatever we could to avoid confrontation, to avoid rioting," Bartlett said.

Bartlett said those relationships are what helped during that volatile time. He said they weren’t something he started then, but many years before when he was first elected mayor. He and his wife would attend a different church every weekend to get to know his community.

“You have to go out and make the commitment to get to know the community," Bartlett said. "Not just the ones you’re friends with, but the ones that you’re serving. They’re the ones that need to have the relationship and get to know you.”

Pastor Scott agreed and said faith and city leaders working together benefits everyone and will help in the future.

“I believe we can really serve as examples to the wider community of how we can still get along, we can still work with one another, even when we see the same issue from two different perspectives," Scott said.

Pastor Scott hopes Tulsa will become an example again when commemorating the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in May. He said it also shows how far Tulsa has come.

“You’ve seen segments of our city from both political parties, all segments of town, all races, really coming together to commemorate a very tragic event that all quadrants of the city at one point didn’t even want to acknowledge or talk about," Scott said.

Pastor Scott also hopes that this moment will move forward -and help in any future situations or events that may occur.

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