Protests erupt af­ter US po­lice kill a Tulsa black man

CityPress - - News -

Three Ok­la­homa law en­force­ment of­fi­cers trig­gered a protest on a city street that prompted the ap­pear­ance of dozens of of­fi­cers in riot gear, show­ing force. This fol­lowed the fatal shoot­ing of a black man while try­ing to pick him up for a men­tal health is­sue on Fri­day.

The Tulsa County sher­iff’s deputies were at­tempt­ing to pick up 29-year-old Joshua Barre near his house, but the man walked away to a nearby con­ve­nience store in­stead, Tulsa po­lice spokesper­son Le­land Ash­ley said.

Two deputies and a Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer opened fire be­fore Barre could en­ter the store when they dis­cov­ered he was car­ry­ing two knives and be­came con­cerned about the safety of the peo­ple who were in­side the place of busi­ness, Ash­ley said.

The deputies who fired the shots are white and the po­lice of­fi­cer is black. All three have been put on rou­tine ad­min­is­tra­tive leave.

It’s not clear how many times Barre was struck. Ash­ley said au­thor­i­ties were re­view­ing footage be­lieved to have been recorded by po­lice dash­board and store sur­veil­lance cam­eras. He said an of­fi­cer’s body cam­era also might have cap­tured what hap­pened.

Deputies had gone to Barre’s home sev­eral times since a civil men­tal health pick-up or­der was is­sued on May 31, po­lice and the sher­iff’s of­fice said on Fri­day.

On June 1 and 7, he made threats about what he would do if they forced their way in­side his home, af­ter which they left since he was no im­me­di­ate threat to the pub­lic, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. On June 5, they couldn’t find him.

It was dif­fer­ent on Fri­day, when four 911 call­ers re­ported see­ing Barre walk­ing the streets with two large knives and threat­en­ing peo­ple, the state­ment said.

When Barre ap­proached the con­ve­nience store, deputies or­dered him to stop. A deputy used his stun gun on Barre, but it “had no ef­fect”, the state­ment said. Deputies and a po­lice of­fi­cer be­gan shoot­ing when Barre opened the door to the store to go in­side.

Dozens of black res­i­dents gath­ered at an in­ter­sec­tion near the store within min­utes of the shoot­ing on Tulsa’s north side. They ques­tioned why of­fi­cers didn’t use less lethal means to re­strain Barre, given his men­tal state.

The shoot­ing comes about three weeks af­ter ju­rors ac­quit­ted a white Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer of man­slaugh­ter in the fatal shoot­ing of an un­armed black man in 2016.

The ver­dict in favour of Betty Jo Shelby, who was al­lowed to re­turn to the force, sparked peace­ful protests and calls from com­mu­nity lead­ers and fam­ily mem­bers of 40-year-old Ter­ence Crutcher to de­mand more ac­count­abil­ity from the po­lice.

Civil rights groups called on po­lice and the sher­iff’s of­fice to turn the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Fri­day’s shoot­ing over to an in­de­pen­dent agency.

Not do­ing so “will con­tinue to erode the al­ready frag­ile trust that ex­ists” be­tween law en­force­ment and the com­mu­nity, said Ryan Kiesel, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ok­la­homa’s Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union chap­ter.

Cleo Harris said blacks like him, who lived on the city’s north side, were fed up with what they per­ceive as a dou­ble stan­dard in how the city is po­liced.

Barre’s next-door neigh­bour, An­gel­ica Hearn (33), said: “He didn’t bother no one. The po­lice should’ve sent some­one equipped to han­dle this.”

PressTV – News24, AP,

PHOTO: REUTERS

LIFE AND LIMB Baraka Lusambo (7), a Tan­za­nian with al­binism who had his arm chopped off in an at­tack driven by su­per­sti­tion, puts his shirt back on af­ter a pros­thetic fit­ting yes­ter­day. He is be­ing helped by the Shriners Hos­pi­tal in Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia, for free

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