Last Friday, the north Tulsa community rallied behind their City Councilwoman in a direct response to Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton. The Crutcher family issued a statement in support of the Councilwoman and against Sheriff Scott Walton’s actions.
Press Release from Crutcher Family
This correspondence is in direct response to Rogers County, OK Sheriff Scott Walton’s Statement posted on January 22, 2018, by a Tulsa, OK media outlet. Sheriff Scott Walton released a statement responding to Tulsa, OK District 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper’s social media comment calling members of the Tulsa Police Department “crooked a—cops.”
In a Facebook post on the RCSO page, Walton said, in part:
“Her unsubstantial charges of corruption and wrongdoing are exactly why members of our police profession continue to be persecuted with provoked and unconscionable acts of retaliation, personal assaults and condemnation. Her method of creating heated political debate over police and community relations and using social media as a platform only serves anti-police rhetoric that plagues this nation. Law enforcement officers throughout the country say they feel under siege by certain members of their community, which often include elected officials like Tulsa
The crooked cop comment by Council Woman Harper was in reference to what she perceived and what many would agree was a cover up to the blatant assassination of my son, my daughter’s twin, and my grandchildren’s father, Terence Crutcher by former Tulsa, OK Police Officer Betty Shelby which was captured on video.
Sheriff Walton, the FOP, and officers from across the country know and recognize that her actions were completely and utterly unnecessary. It does not take a skilled law enforcement officer to see that continuum of force protocol was not followed, de-escalation was not employed, first-aid was not administered, and that Terence Crutcher’s civil rights were violated under the color of law.
All of these flaws would lead any logical thinking person to conclude that the possibility of corruption took place. During the criminal trial for Betty Shelby, it was evident that vital evidence was tampered with from the crime scene and that the officers involved covered for her. Representatives of the FOP took extreme measures to obstruct justice and taint the jury pool during the trial.
There is a long history of police misconduct in Tulsa, Oklahoma which validates the position of Council Woman Harper and the complaint filed against the City of Tulsa by the Crutcher family. Council Woman Harper merely echoes the voices of her constituents and for Sheriff Walton to criticize her for doing her job is disgraceful. The words of Council Woman Harper are spoken in our community every day by people who have personally witnessed and in many instances been a victim of police misconduct.
Please understand that when you attack our elected official, you are attacking her constituency. The sheriff of any county is the highest law enforcement authority that the people of Oklahoma entrust power. For that reason, we would like to admonish you Sheriff Walton with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
Even though Council Woman Harper is married to Sergeant Marcus Harper a police officer who is a long-standing member of the Tulsa Police Department and the FOP, she still has the courage to speak truth to power and is willing to confront wrong in order to bring forth right because she absolutely LOVES her community and she believes in JUSTICE for all.
There is a robust movement to reform law enforcement nationwide and to strengthen the relationship between the police and communities of color which is one of the emphases of the Terence CrutcherFoundation. According to a Washington Post Article dated October 17, 2016, entitled US Police Chiefs Group Apologizes for Historical Mistreatment of Minorities, the former president of America’s largest police management organization, Terrence M. Cunningham issued a formal apology to the nation’s minority population for the actions of the past and the role that law enforcement has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color. He delivered his remarks at the convention in San Diego of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership includes 23,000 police officials in the United States. The statement was issued on behalf of the IACP and comes as police executives continue to grapple with tense relationships between officers and minority groups in the wake of high-profile civilian deaths. Cunningham stated
“Police chiefs have long recognized the need to maintain good relations with their communities of all races, and not allow an “us-versus-them” mentality to take root, either in their rank-and-file officer corps or in the neighborhoods where their citizens live.”Cunningham’s comments are an acknowledgment of police departments’ past role in exacerbating tensions and a way to move forward and improve community relations nationwide.
Sheriffs Walton’s misguided attack and statements against Council Woman Harper is the antithesis of former President Cunningham’s apology. Either Sheriff Walton does not know of the current position taken by the leadership of the IACP or he feels more comfortable attacking an African American woman and her community. Either way, his statements are completely misleading & unacceptable and his threats should be repudiated by city officials, law enforcement, and community leaders throughout the City of Tulsa.
In closing, what we need in Oklahoma is true healing and reconciliation and the first step to reconciliation is recognizing the truth. FOR THE RECORD, THE TRUTH IS; Council Woman Harper, the Crutcher family, and the Tulsa North Community are NOT anti-police, we are simply anti-bad cop and anti-corruption. My family and I made a vow last year to be a part of the much-needed change that our community desires to see in Tulsa, OK and we will continue to hold law enforcement and our elected officials accountable to the people and communities they serve to ensure that our civil rights are protected according to the Constitution of the United States of America. We applaud Council Woman Vanessa Harper for standing up for her community and not backing down to the intimidation, threats, and bullying by representatives of the FOP and Sheriff Scott Walton of Rogers County.
Lastly, we call upon the Tulsa media to challenge Sherriff Walton to produce specific evidence and instances where Tulsa Police Officers
“continue to be persecuted with provoked and unconscionable acts of retaliation, personal assaults, and condemnation.”