The prosecution of Officer Betty Shelby might be a result of the Tulsa officials' attempts to avoid violence in the city.
After Keith Lamont Scott died a gruesome death at the hands of Charlotte police officers, outraged residents and protesters took to the streets to express their disapproval of the shooting and other cases of violence against Black people. The protest quickly turned heated and it subsequently resulted in one death and a couple of injured police officers.
The unrest was broadcasted by every news outlet in the country, everyone watched the city erupt in a combination of flames, tear gas, and makeshift projectiles. For sure, Tulsa was also watching and that sight might have hugely influenced the city’s officials’ decision in the prosecution of Betty Shelby, the officer who fatally shot an unarmed and innocent Black man, Terence Crutcher.
Prosecutors might say that the evidence in the helicopter and dashcam footage impacted the decision to charge Shelby; the victim’s family could say that the officer’s prosecution might bring closure on the absurd death of Black men; activists will probably tell the public that this a baby step towards achieving justice for Black victims of police brutality in the country. They might all be right, but could it be that the city’s officials acted fast in order to prevent a major unrest in Tulsa?
The city’s officials might have reacted to the violence, which unfolded in Charlotte, Oklahoma, after Crutcher’s death at the hands of police officers by quickly pressing charges against Shelby in order to keep the city calm. It can be said that they felt the heat and fury of a restless citizenry on the backs of their necks. Open civil rage might just have played a huge role.
Several community leaders have pleaded for restraint in Charlotte and claimed that violence isn’t going to work. Well, isn’t it completely obvious that in the absence of justice, peace can never reign? In the whole existence of mankind, no population has ever freed itself from oppression and tyranny through absolutely peaceful methods. People have their rights to protest and they exercise it peacefully, but the government only seems to react when the outrage leads to violence.
Violence doesn’t have to be the only language that officials should understand, but that’s the only thing they have reacted to in terms of protests for justice in various police killings. Prosecutors charged six officers in the death of Freddie Gray after the residents in Baltimore rioted; Rodney King’s abusers were indicted after rioters used Molotov cocktails in their protests. As the saying goes, “action speaks louder than words.” The authorities are to blame, as they leave the communities without any choice than to revolt.