What is the difference between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa?
Both cities were struck with incidents of police shooting and killing men. Rioting broke out in Charlotte while Tulsa has had peaceful protests.
And this is the second incidence of law enforcement shooting and killing a suspect in Tulsa in recent months.
In Charlotte, officials have delayed release of the video of the shooting incident. They did let the family of the deceased man view the video privately.
In Tulsa, authorities immediately released all of the video of the shooting even though it was inflammatory on the surface. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said he wanted transparency in this case and he delivered. He also said he sought justice.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and his staff sought a quick evaluation of the facts. Based on what he saw in the videos, in police reports and interviews, he charged the shooter, Police Officer Betty Shelby, with first-degree manslaughter. There is no coverup.
This action was consistent with the case of Robert Bates, a volunteer Tulsa County Sheriff deputy, who shot an unarmed man and then was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to prison.
In both cases, Kunzweiler and Jordan acted quickly and decisively to follow the rule of law.
And they met with members of Tulsa’s minority community to listen to their concerns and explain the process. To their credit, leaders in black community remained calm and are willing to let the legal process play out.
Officer Shelby will have her day in court. She is innocent until proven guilty.
Charlotte could take a lesson from Tulsa in how to deal with a racially charged incident between the police and the public.