Tulsa chief: Black man killed by an officer had no weapon
TULSA, Okla. — An unarmed black man fatally shot by a white Tulsa, Okla., officer responding to a stalled vehicle 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 then fatally shot.
Tulsa police Chief Chuck Jordan announced Monday before the department released the shooting footage that 40-year-old Terence 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.
The police video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV with his hands up and a female officer following him. The vehicle is 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 his actions from the police dashboard camera’s angle.
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 almost immediately, someone can be heard saying, “Shots fired.” Crutcher’s head then drops, leaving him lying in the street.
Police have said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands.
“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 SolomonSimmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held.
U.S. Attorney Danny Williams said the Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the shooting will be separate from a local one into whether criminal charges should be filed.
Tulsa police Sgt. Shane Tuell said authorities showed Crutcher’s family members the video and audio recordings ahead of their release to the public “so they wouldn’t be blindsided by it.”
“We wanted to be able to have that intimate time with them, with their attorney, to see if they had any questions or concerns,” Tuell said. “With something of this magnitude, we’re trying an approach that we believe is necessary to further that transparency.”
About a dozen protesters gathered Monday morning outside the Tulsa County courthouse waving signs that read “This Stops Now” and “Not Going, Keep Protesting.”
Tulsa resident Mark Whited, who was among the protesters, said more should be done to “bridge the mistrusts” between police and citizens.
Police said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. They said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist.
Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while Officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher, police said. Turnbough also is white. Shelby was placed on paid leave.
Video shows officers pursuing Terence Crutcher, center, as he walk to his SUV. Police said the shooting happened after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle on the road.