For the past few days, many communities have been in an uproar about the recent unprovoked shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. This incident occurred on the evening of September 16 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As expected, there are opinions on both sides of the situation, with some believing that there was absolutely no reason for Crutcher to be fatally shot and others believing that reaching towards the door handle was grounds for excessive force.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Crutcher was shot by Officer Betty Shelby after his hands being up leading to his vehicle. “Shots fired!” was paged, and soon after, Crutcher was dead.
Interestingly, Officer Shelby was the only person who felt as if deadly force was the best option to execute at the time. This judgment was made while other officers thought that he was tasered when he fell to the ground, even if they thought he was a “bad dude.”
On the video, the assumption was that Crutcher was not “following commands.” Shortly after that assumption was made, the suggestion was, “Time for Taser, I think.” This was followed by other officers believing that the use of the Taser was going to happen.
An officer on the recording stated, “I think he may have just been tasered.”
However, with these officers assuming that he was tasered, which is a justifiable initial reaction in trying to subdue a potential threat, Officer Shelby believed that shooting him was the best option. The reason why she decided to shoot was unknown for days until the cause was recently released.
Also during the recording, one of the officers stated, “I think he may be on something,” which still only fell on grounds to taser the potential suspect. Shelby, however, thought that it was a good enough reason to shoot.
Shelby’s attorney backs her reasoning, stating that she thought Crutcher’s actions were influenced by PCP. She felt compelled to shoot him, according to her representative, when he reached his left arm towards the window. However, no weapon was found in the vehicle.
More importantly, Shelby is making accusations that Crutcher seemed disheveled when they encountered each other and never made a response to her despite her attempts in trying to find out the nature of the situation. None of this is recorded, though, as her dash camera was not on to confirm her statements.
Crutcher’s attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons is in direct opposition of Shelby’s claims.
“The video shows that he was not belligerent. The video shows what the video shows. That’s the great thing about video… it has no biases.”
Solomon-Simmons is assisting in the Crutcher family forwarding to move for Officer Shelby to be charged. Terence’s sister, Tiffany, finds the “big bad dude” claims to be utterly offensive.
“You all want to know who that ‘big bad dude’ was?’ That ‘big bad dude’ was my big brother. That ‘big bad dude’ was a father, that ‘big bad dude’ was a son.”
While Crutcher is among the long list of black males killed by police officers this year, other instances did present a legal argument that the actions were provoked. In this case, Shelby’s strongest claim of Crutcher being on PCP and not alert are insufficient grounds to kill an unarmed man.
Additionally, the multiple accounts of videos recording other police officers believing that Crutcher was tasered, when instead he was shot, does not bode well either. If Shelby is convicted and this case continues to unfold, the media will be sure to capitalize on the racial undertones that are already being expressed by many defenders of Crutcher, as well as those who will defend Shelby’s actions.
[Featured Image by Tulsa Police Department/AP Images]