Dashboard camera and helicopter footage of Tulsa, Oklahoma police killing 40-year-old Terence Crutcher contradict the police account of the shooting.
On Friday, September 16, Crutcher, a father of four, was heading home from music appreciation class at Tulsa Community College when his SUV broke down in the middle of 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue. Shortly after police arrived on the scene, Crutcher, who had no weapon on his person or in his vehicle, was shot and killed with his hands in the air. New York Daily News columnist Shaun King tweeted the dash cam video, which shows police killing Crutcher at the 17-second mark:
Tulsa police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie told the Associated Press that Crutcher was uncooperative with officers who arrived on the scene.
“He refused to follow commands given by the officers,” MacKenzie told the AP. “They continued to talk to him, he continued not to listen and follow any commands.”
However, helicopter footage obtained and published by the Tulsa World shows Crutcher had his hands up the entire time during his fatal encounter with responding officers. In the helicopter footage, a police officer is heard saying, “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.”
According to the Tulsa World, U.S. Attorney Danny Williams has confirmed the United States Department of Justice has opened a separate civil rights investigation into Crutcher’s death that will run parallel to the investigation conducted by the State of Oklahoma.
In an interview with the World, pastor Rodney Goss, of the Morning Star Baptist Church in Tulsa, said the police department’s account of events is completely contradictory with video evidence.
“His hands were in the air from all views,” Goss said. “It was not apparent at any angle from any point that he lunged, came toward, aggressively attacked, or made any sudden movements that would have been considered a threat or life-threatening toward the officer.”
Officer Betty Shelby, who fired the shot that killed Crutcher, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.