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Tulsa police have confirmed that Terence Crutcher did not have a weapon on his body or in his car when he was killed by police. In addition, a newly released video shows that he had his arms in the air when police opened fire on the father of four.
On Friday evening, September 16, 2016, Terence Crutcher’s car stalled on 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue in Tulsa. When police responded to reports of an abandoned car running, they ordered Crutcher to put his hands in the air. He followed orders, yet one officer fired a Taser at him and another fired her gun. Video footage taken from both responding officer’s dash cams as well as a police helicopter showed that Crutcher walked with his hands up to his SUV. He placed them against the vehicle as four police officers gather behind him with weapons, either guns or Tasers, pointed directly at him. An officer at the beginning of the video claimed that Crutcher “is still walking… not following commands”. “Time for a Taser, I think", another officer responded. "I’ve got a feeling that’s about to happen", the first officer said. The other officer responded, "That looks like a bad dude, too”. Moments later, Crutcher crumpled to the ground. Another officer said, “I think he may have just been Tasered”, but a female officer is heard shouting “Shots fired !” There’s more chatter over the radio about blocking eastbound traffic while the four officers mull around Crutcher’s visibly bloodied body. Later, an emergency crew would show up and take him to a hospital where he was declared dead.
Tulsa police chief Chuck Jordan held a press conference on Monday, September 19, 2016, where he explained that he and Crutcher’s family had reviewed the footage together and he found it "very disturbing —very difficult to watch". He confirmed that Crutcher did not have a gun on his body or in his vehicle when he was shot, but could not offer much more information due to the ongoing investigation. Jordan assured the public that the details will be released when they can and said, "I will make this promise to you : We will achieve justice in this case".
Damario Soloman-Simmons, attorney for Crutcher’s family, told Tulsa World that his understanding was that Crutcher was returning from class when his car stalled on the road. “The police were on another call”, he said, “and they somehow came upon Terrance and from that point, I do not know what occurred”.
Community leaders also viewed the video before it was released. Pastor Mareo Johnson of Seeking the Kingdom Ministries was a friend of Crutcher’s. He viewed the video and said : “What I’ve seen on the video was a man who had his hands up, to me [he] look[s] like in compliance with police officers”, Tulsa World reported. “The only part was where he was walking back to his car, but he had his hands up. He was Tased and shot. We believe that was too much”.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said that criminal charges could be levied against the officers involved, but details will be limited for a time. "We need to protect the integrity of the process", he told Tulsa World.
Meanwhile, Crutcher’s family is left trying to put everything together. “We’re incredibly heartbroken, I can say that”, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Terrance’s twin sister, told Tulsa World. “We just want answers. We want to know what happened. There’s a lot of speculation but there’s one thing, one fact that I do know is that my brother was unarmed”.
Protests in response to the shooting have already begun outside of the Tulsa County Courthouse, but the Crutcher family asks that the protests remain respectful. “Let’s protest, let’s do what we have to do, but let’s do it peacefully, so we respect the culture of our family”, she told the New York Daily News.
Video : Unarmed black man Terence Crutcher fatally shot by police with hands up (GRAPHIC)
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