Roy Gilbert

100 Years After the Tulsa Massacre, What Does Justice Look Like?

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As dusk was falling on Sept. 16, 2016, callers began dialing 9-1-1 to report that a Lincoln Navigator had been abandoned on 36th Street North in Tulsa, Okla.

A couple of callers said the S.U.V. had been left in the center of the road, its driver’s door left open — “like somebody jumped out.”

Two officers, Betty Jo Shelby and Tyler Turnbough, were sent to the scene, and one of the Tulsa Police Department’s two helicopters provided aerial surveillance. As Shelby and Turnbough approached the S.U.V., they saw a Black man standing beside the vehicle, on the driver’s side. Shelby and Turnbough would later say that he would not comply with their orders.

Overhead, an officer in the helicopter said, “Time for a Taser, I think.”

Another replied, “I’ve got a feeling that’s about to happen.”

Turnbough drew his Taser; Shelby drew her gun. In their earpieces, they heard from above: “That looks like a bad dude, too. Could be on something.”More than 700 miles away in Montgomery, Ala., a woman named Tiffany Crutcher was getting ready to meet a friend for dinner. She grew up in Tulsa and moved to Alabama to get her clinical doctorate in physical rehabilitation, after which she settled in Montgomery and opened her own practice. She had been struggling with an eerie feeling all day; her colleagues had told her that she seemed “off.”She was having a glass of […]

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