(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 5/18/2017) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today expressed outrage at the acquittal for Officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed Terence Crutcher in September 2016, joining Black Lives Matter Oklahoma in its call for the dismissal of Officer Shelby and the creation of a Citizen’s Advisory Council.
SEE: Tulsa Officer Acquitted in Fatal Shooting of Terence Crutcher
“We are disappointed that Officer Shelby was not found guilty of manslaughter despite the overwhelming evidence,” said Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “We support Black Lives Matter Oklahoma in their demands for the creation of a citizen’s advisory commission and for the dismissal of Officer Shelby from the Tulsa Police Department, as well as for better policies, implicit bias training, and stronger oversight procedures.”
The death of Terence Crutcher in September 2016 sparked protests and calls for better police trainings from community activists across the state. Videos circulating after the event show the unarmed black man being shot in the back as he walks back toward his vehicle on a North Tulsa street. An open letter signed by interfaith and social justice leaders, including CAIR-OK, called for a full and transparent investigation and for the development of better training standards for law enforcement agents.
SEE: CAIR-OK Seeks ‘Fair and Transparent’ Probe of Police Shooting Death of Terence Crutcher
The acquittal of Officer Shelby comes less than two weeks before the 96th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the largest and most destructive anti-Black massacres in American history. In June of 1921, after a young black man was falsely accused of assaulting a young white female in an elevator, white rioters burned and looted homes and businesses in and around Tulsa’s Black Wall Street. In two days, about 10,000 black Tulsans were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $26 million.
SEE: Tulsa Race Riots Summary
CAIR Oklahoma is the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR Oklahoma es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, email@example.com