Symposium discusses racism, police shootings amid aftermath of Terence Crutcher's death

Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 22:41:49-04

The aftermath of Terence Crutcher's death put a spotlight on police and community relations in Tulsa.

On Thursday five panelists gathered in Tulsa to discuss racism, police shootings and the challenges for those with mental illness.

"We have to come together to identify what the strategies are and we have to really build a coalition between law enforcement and community," said Ivey.

Thursday’s panel was part of the Zarrow Symposium originally scheduled to discuss just mental health and addiction and its impact on the community. Terence Crutcher's death, however, changed the dialogue to another topic that many believe the whole country can learn from.

The images of Crutcher's death are now all too familiar to Tulsans and to millions of other Americans.

"Being African American, it puts you on high alert," said Rochelle Wilson from Kansas City. "Seeing it on the news, it's like OK, a little too close to home, even though I’m not at home."

Wilson says she's went to the Thursday night symposium to be part of the solution.

"I think the more education that everybody gets about mental illness and substance abuse or whatever is going on, it'll help," she said.

"That particular population, they're also thinking about 'when I come into contact with law enforcement,'" said Tulsa Health Dept. chief operating officer Reggie Ivey.

It’s a community that extends beyond Tulsa, and a conversation that Wilson wants to keep going.

"We have to keep talking about it. After the situations are over, just don't cease talking about it," said Wilson. "Continuously educate, have more seminars, have more speaking sessions because it's something that continues."

Organizers told the crowd they invited representatives from the Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa County Sheriff's Office to speak at the event, but they declined.