Decision on Shelby's Future with TPD Coming in the "Very Near Future"

May 18, 2017

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the city has a long way to go in addressing racial disparities at a news conference the day after police officer Betty Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter. He was joined by City Councilors Blake Ewing (left), Phil Lakin, Vanessa Hall-Harper and Karen Gilbert, and Police Chief Chuck Jordan.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

After a contentious manslaughter trial of one of their own, Tulsa’s police chief acknowledged there are questions about Shelby’s future with the department.

"That is being analyzed right now, as we speak, by city human resources as well as police human resources and the legal department," Jordan said Thursday at a news conference with Mayor G.T. Bynum. "And there should be some result come out of that in the very near future."

Shelby has been on leave since fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16.

Bynum had strong words for anyone indulging of rumors of violent protests in the wake of Wednesday night’s acquittal of Shelby.

"We have a long way to go as a city when people keep expecting lawlessness from African-Americans in response to an incident or a verdict," Bynum said. "I would remind Tulsans that our history shows us African-Americans in Tulsa have not been the instigators of lawlessness and riots. They have been the victims of them."

Several dozen protesters peacefully marched from the courthouse to Greenwood last night, though they did block late-night downtown traffic at some point.

Among the more extreme rumors was one that they were attempting to break into the Mayo Hotel. There was no truth to it. The protesters marched past the hotel.

Jordan said he supports the right of all Tulsans to peacefully protest, and he complimented protesters and police for their interactions Wednesday night.

Bynum also said racial disparity in Tulsa is "the great moral issue of our time."

"For those who want to join us in pursuing these changes, in making Tulsa a more equitable city and addressing issues of racial disparity that have existed in our city for more than a century, the door is open," Bynum said.

Several initiatives started by the city before the Shelby trial continue, including convening an African-American Affairs Commission and implementing a list of 77 task force recommendations to improve the Tulsa Police Department. TPD should get body cameras and citizen advisory boards this year.