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Peaceful protesters gather outside City Hall after African American Affairs Commission item pulled

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Posted at 12:54 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 20:01:00-04

TULSA – The Tulsa City Council meeting that sparked a peaceful protest was canceled so councilors could attend the vigils held for Terence Crutcher.

The peaceful gathering met outside City Hall in Tulsa to protest against an item that was canceled from the city meeting agenda: the formation of an African American Affairs Commission.

Many showed up thinking the city council would discuss the formation of the commission at the Urban and Economic Development Committee but it was pulled from the agenda Tuesday night.

Mayor elect G.T. Bynum said the mayor's office needs 90 days before talking about its recommendations on its new task force.

The city assigned the task force to form an African American Affairs Commission and come up with findings.

Some of community leaders at the protest say they've been trying to form this group for a long time and don't understand the delay.

“As we go through this tragic situation with what happened with Terence Crutcher, this is more of a reason of why we need an African American Affairs Commission,” said Kristi Williams, representing north Tulsa.

Protesters said residents would benefit from having a commission that represents African Americans in the city, especially in north Tulsa.

Some of the residents say having a commission could change the way African-Americans are viewed in the city and help recruit more African American police officers to patrol the streets.

The Tulsa City Council sent a message regarding the rescheduling of the meeting saying "Due to the recent tragedy, the Tulsa City Council has cancelled tonight’s meeting. Commemorative services are being held, which City Councilors will attend.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."

The meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday September 28 at 6 p.m.

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