Police kill stranded unarmed Black man
JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS | 10/31/2016, 5:19 p.m.
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed Black man fatally shot by a White female Tulsa, Oklahoma, officer last week can be seen in police dashcam video walking toward his SUV with his hands up and officers following behind him before he’s shocked with a stun gun and fatally shot.
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan announced Monday before the department released the shooting footage that Crutcher had no weapon on him or in his SUV. Police said local and federal investigators are looking into Friday’s shooting to determine whether there should be criminal charges or if Crutcher’s civil rights were violated.
“We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said.
Police were responding to two 911 calls that described an SUV that had been abandoned in the middle of the road. One unidentified caller said the driver was acting strangely, adding, “I think he’s smoking something.”
The initial moments of Crutcher’s encounter with police are not shown in the footage, and Scott Wood, the female officer’s attorney, said the situation unfolded for about two minutes before the videos began.
Officer Betty Shelby did not activate her patrol car’s dashcam, said police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie, and the ground-level video released Monday came from the car of a second officer who arrived at the scene.
The police video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV with his hands up and a female officer following him. The vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road. As Crutcher approaches the SUV, three male officers walk up and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle. The officers surround him, making it harder to see what is about to take place from the police dashboard camera’s angle.
Tulsa police helicopter footage was among several clips showing the shooting. In that video, a man in the helicopter that arrives above the scene as Crutcher walks to the vehicle can be heard saying “time for a Taser.” He then stated, “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.”
Crutcher can be seen dropping to the ground. Someone on the police radio says, “I think he may have just been Tasered.”
One of the officers near Crutcher backs up slightly.
Then, someone can be heard saying, “Shots fired.” Crutcher’s head then drops, leaving him lying in the street, bleeding.
After that, a voice can be heard on the police radio saying, “Shots fired. We have one suspect down.”
Initial police briefings indicated Crutcher was not obeying officers’ commands, but MacKenzie said Monday she didn’t know what Crutcher was doing that prompted police to shoot. Officers stated that Crutcher reached into his vehicle. However, a photo displayed during a press conference shows that the windows of the vehicle were rolled up.
“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent,” one of the attorneys for Crutcher’s family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held.