Black Man Had Hands Up When Tulsa Cop Killed Him (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Tulsa Police and Terence CrutcherTulsa Police and Terence Crutcher

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Department released dash cam and helicopter video (below) on Sept. 19 that shows Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, with his hands up before being fatally shot by a police officer on Sept. 16.

The video contradicts an assertion made by the police department on Sept. 17 that Crutcher did not put his hands in their air, as reported by the Associated Press.

In the video, Crutcher has his hands in the air as he walks back to his vehicle that had stalled in the middle of the road. It's not clear from the ground or air what exactly happens next, but Crutcher appears to be leaning against or touching his vehicle. An officer fires a shot at Crutcher who drops down on the road.

Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie said on Sept. 17: "He refused to follow commands given by the officers. They continued to talk to him; he continued not to listen and follow any commands. As they got closer to the vehicle, he reached inside the vehicle and at that time there was a Taser deployment and a short time later there was one shot fired."

As a press conference on Sept. 19, the Tulsa Police said that Crutcher was not armed and did not have a gun in his car.

The police were responding to a call that was not related to Crutcher when they saw his SUV stalled on the road.

Officer Tyler Turnbough used his Taser on Crutcher, and Officer Betty Shelby reportedly fired her gun. Shelby has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation into the incident.

According to Tulsa World, Police Chief Chuck Jordan called the video "very disturbing -- very difficult to watch," but would not elaborate on the details.

"It will come out," Jordan stated. "I will make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case."

It's not clear how long the investigation into the shooting will take.

"We need to protect the integrity of the process," District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler stated. "While I recognize there is a desire to have a quick answer, that's dependent on when I start getting reports."

According to U.S. Attorney Danny Williams, the Department of Justice opened its own investigation to see if there was a federal civil rights violation.

"The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers, and we will use whatever resources necessary," Williams said.

Crutcher's family and local community leaders were shown the video footage on Sept. 18.

Pastor Rodney Goss, a local clergyman who saw the videos, told Tulsa World: "His hands were in the air from all views."

Goss said that Crutcher did not reach into his SUV, and added: “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."

Goss said that Crutcher was Tasered and shot almost at the same time.

"It wasn’t a matter of minutes, it was a matter of moments, where as quick as the officer released the Taser from his hand, Terence was falling to the ground having already been shot," Goss stated.

Goss was disturbed that police didn't immediately check on Crutcher after the shooting: "After having been shot, a couple minutes it appears, but it seemed like a lifetime, went by before anyone actually checked with him as far as pulse -- as far as whatever the case may be."

Audio from the police helicopter includes one man saying that Crutcher’s hands were up. Another voice, or possibly the same man, describes Crutcher as a "bad dude."

"There was a perception problem before there was ever a shooting," Goss said.

Damario Soloman-Simmons, a lawyer who represents Crutcher's family, did not immediately respond to Tulsa World for comment on the video footage.

Sources: AP via The Guardian, Tulsa World (2) / Photo credit: Tulsa Police Department via YouTube

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