Two black men were shot and killed by police officers in two different American cities this week.
But scenes from the two communities on the night of September 21 show they expressed the pain in two drastically different ways.
This was Charlotte…
And this was Tulsa…
Why did it look so different?
Terence Crutcher was unarmed when a Tulsa police officer shot him. His death was captured on video and released to the public. On Wednesday evening, hundreds attended a vigil in his honor, holding hands and bowing their heads.
Meanwhile, that same night, a dramatic scene played out in Charlotte after an officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott while attempting to serve a warrant meant for someone else. The video of this incident has not yet been made public. Protests began peacefully on Wednesday, but later devolved into a violent scene.
Police in riot gear shot tear gas into the crowd, which responded by throwing glass bottles and smashing windows of nearby buildings. One person was shot.
“We don’t need any more people to go to die, no more people to be arrested. We need to take a stand and do it the right way,” said Toussaint Romain, a public defender who was in the street, attempting to calm the protesters.
“People are hurting, man. People are upset. People are frustrated. People need leaders,” Romain added.
It’s not that the people of Tulsa aren’t angry – far from it. It’s how they are channeling that emotion.
Rev. Ray Owens of Metropolitan Baptist Church, which held the vigil, opened the service by saying he was offering the church as “a space for safe, yet constructive expression of our righteous rage” in light of the shooting.
Rev. Owens said he had received calls, texts and Facebook messages from friends all over city who asked: “Where can I go to cry, to say how I feel?”
At one point, he handed out cards and asked attendees to “write your lament, your outrage” so the community felt their voice was heard.
It wasn’t just members of the church who showed up. Mathias Wicks, who is black, serves as the deputy police chief at Tulsa Unified School district. He told a story about the time his daughter called him, sobbing, and said, “It just dawned on me … my daddy and big brother have targets on their back.”
Minister Josh Linton, who is white, told the crowd he understands.
“Vigils and prayers, sort of the same patterns, are just … getting tired,” he said. “Let’s make sure, yes, the white people back away … and allow people to be pissed off without us trying to insert our dialogue control over the situation.”