According to Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan, Terrence Crutcher, a father and music lover, who was shot and killed by a police officer, was unarmed and had his hands up.
In a press conference held on Monday, Tulsa’s police chief shared with the public three camera footages that showed what happened when two police officers approached Crutcher.
On September 16, Crutcher’s car stalled on 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue in Tulsa. As officers – Betty Shelby and Tyler Turnbough – were responding to another call, they spotted Crutcher on the side of the road.
It was previously claimed that Crutcher was shot and killed because he refused to obey the officers’ orders. It was also reported that Crutcher was carrying a weapon.
However, videos from the officers and a police helicopter showed another side of the story. Shelby’s husband, a Tulsa police officer, was in the rotorcraft at the time of the shooting. The three videos showed that Crutcher walked with his hands up to his SUV.
Crutcher placed both hands on the vehicle, and four officers walked towards him with either guns or Tasers, pointed directly at him. An officer at the beginning of the video can be heard saying:
“He is still walking… not following commands.”
Another officer said:
“Time for a Taser, I think.”
The first officer responded:
“I’ve got a feeling that’s about to happen.”
The other officer said:
“That looks like a bad dude, too.”
Officer Turnbough first tasered Crutcher, and he was shot once by Officer Shelby. Crutcher was taken to the hospital where he died. Shelby and Turnbough have been placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting. It is not known if either officer has been the subject of any complaints.
At the press conference, Chief Jordan said he found the video “very disturbing — very difficult to watch.” He told reporters that no gun was found on Crutcher or in his vehicle. He said:
“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon, It will come out, I will make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case.”
Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, who represents the Crutcher family, stated in a separate news conference:
“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent.”
U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said the Department of Justice would conduct an independent civil rights investigation into the shooting. He shared:
“The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of force by law enforcement officers and will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated.”
Crutcher’s twin sister, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, told reporters that the family is devastated. She explained:
“We just want answers, we want to know what happened, there’s a lot of speculation, but there is one thing, one fact that I do know is that my brother was unarmed. I’m just devastated.You all want to know who that big bad dude was? That big bad dude was my twin brother. That big bad dude was a father. That big bad dude was a son. That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College. … That big bad dude loved God. That big bad dude was at church singing with all his flaws every week. That big bad dude, that is who he was.”
Terence Crutcher, 40, a father of four, was driving home after attending a class at Tulsa Community College, where he had been studying music appreciation. Public records show that Crutcher pleaded no contest in 1996 to carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer and was given a six-month suspended sentence and had several traffic violations.
Crutcher’s pastor, Terry Shannon, said he was very active in the church and is urging the community to protest in a peaceful manner.
— Corley Peel (@CorleyPeel_KJRH) September 19, 2016