Police use preventative measures to de-escalate reaction to Betty Shelby verdict

Police targeting the group of protesters standing in the middle of the road at Denver and 5th street. (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Tulsa police gave credit today to both protesters and officers for a peaceful end to Betty Shelby reaction following verdict.

It was a warning repeated over and over.

Police responded to the group of protesters standing in the middle of the road at 5th and Denver, but after some time police left and the crowd against the verdict took to the sidewalk to echo their chants.

It was a de-escalation of a situation addressed today in a joint news conference at City Hall.

“We are not going to let any event, any protest or any other event deter us from our goal of community policing," said Chief Chuck Jordan.

For several hours the group voiced their opinions, gathering together throughout the plaza, walking to the Mayo Hotel and then standing in the middle of the road.

TPD spokesman Sgt. Shane Tuell says when the crowd took to the streets that’s when officers intervened.

This after protesters were seen banging on windows at the Mayo Hotel believing Shelby was inside.

“Please exercise your right, but please don’t hurt each other, and please don’t destroy property," said Tuell.

Tuell says the police presence downtown was meant to ensure the protester's safety, not to scare anyone.

A tactic they use time and again.

“A lot of times we have found more police presence can sometimes cause more of an issue," said Tuell.

Tuell says officers chose not to wear what they call riot gear, saying it would send the wrong message.

And in the end the group did eventually disperse without any arrests.

Chief Jordan ended today’s news conference saying the department is ready to move forward and hopes to have the support of those in the community.

TPD officials say (they’ll) use the same approach if any future protests or demonstrations happen.

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