Private Project

State of Fear: Murder and Memory on Black Wall Street

Tulsa, Oklahoma is renowned as “the oil capitol of the world” - once home to the most prosperous black community in the United States known as “Black Wall Street.” In 1921, after members of the KKK had effectively taken control of the city, Black Wall Street was destroyed in a massacre known as “The Tulsa Race Riot.” The official name of the Black Wall Street district was the Greenwood District. After the 1921 massacre, it was renamed the Brady District for Tulsa’s Ku Klux Klan affiliated Mayor. Ever since, the area has known extensive, community-wide victimization by racist members of the Tulsa law enforcement community.

In April, 2015, a Reserve Deputy of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office killed Eric Harris, an unarmed suspect, as he ran from members of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest and conviction of the deputy, a grand jury investigation and the conviction of the Tulsa County Sheriff, Stanley Glanz for his responsibility in deaths as well as his role in the rape of an underage girl, civil rights abuses and other offenses carried out by senior officers under his command.

State of Fear is the story of a community in the grip of powerful, corrupt and dangerous public officials and how black and white residents joined together to demand justice.

  • J.D. Thompson
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 25, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
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Director Biography - J.D. Thompson

J.D. Thompson is a musician and writer-turned guerrilla filmmaker from Oklahoma. "State of Fear" (2016) - an investigative short covering the untold story of the murder of Eric Harris by Tulsa County Sheriff's Reserve Deputy, Robert Bates - is his documentary debut.

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Director Statement

"When people ask why I do what I do, what it's all about, I think about L.G. who once said, 'To ride, shoot straight and speak the truth.' For me, that pretty much covers it." - J.D. Thompson