A video captures five minutes of an extraordinary night at City Council on Wednesday.
Tiffany Crutcher and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum discuss police officers’ interaction with residents of the Town Square Apartments on Tuesday night.
Tiffany Crutcher’s brother, Terence Crutcher, was shot dead by a Tulsa Police officer in 2016. He was unarmed.
Here’s what led to the discussion in the hallway outside council chambers, which lasted about an hour.
The meeting was supposed to be about the city’s Equality Indicators reports and police use of force. Then Bynum decided to speak up, and it became much more, and much more personal.
Bynum, it turns out, was with police officers at the apartment complex Tuesday night. The officers were part of the city Violent Crime Guns Task Force.
No one at the apartment complex knew the mayor had been there, until Bynum decided to speak up.
Why? Because several speakers at the council meeting — unaware that the mayor was at the apartment complex Tuesday night — used the police’s presence there as an example of police harassment. One man described the incident as terrorism.
Bynum didn’t see it that way, sparking more discussion, sometimes heated, that continued for nearly an hour after the meeting ended.
Tiffany Crutcher told Bynum it’s a problem when a Tulsa officer refused to have a conversation with her about policing equality on Tuesday night. “I did not sleep last night. I was highly disturbed at what happened.”
He agreed the officer should not have been “condescending” and told her body footage would be sought out from the incident.
She pointed out to Bynum, who said the officers had been acting respectfully and professionally, that many in the black community feel that it’s an escalation in itself for multiple patrol cars and uniformed officers to descend like they did.
“What would you feel, if all of these (police) cars came from nowhere and swarmed around this one car? Does it take six officers to check a VIN number? ... That’s excessive force, that’s what we’re talking about,” Crutcher said. “We don’t deserve that.”
It was extraordinary: a white mayor of a midsize midwestern town standing in the middle of a group of angry, frustrated residents — many of them African American, one whose unarmed brother was shot dead by a police officer — discussing race, policing and perceptions.