New video footage captured from police dashboard and helicopter cameras shows police officers from Tulsa, Oklahoma shooting and killing 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. The newly released footage seems to contradict previous police accounts of the incident.
The Tulsa Police Department released video on Monday of the encounter showing an unarmed black man with his hands in the air while several police pointed their guns at him.
Crutcher, a father of four, was on his way home from a music class at Tulsa Community College when his car broke down in the middle of 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue. Officers arrived on the scene to check on the stalled car. According to Tulsa Officer Jeanne MacKenzie, “As they approached the vehicle a black male started towards them. They asked him to show his hands. He refused to follow commands given by the officers. They continued to talk to him. He continued not to listen, not 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 then a short time later there was one shot fired.”
A short time later seems to be an understatement. In the video, after walking to his car with his hands in the air, police surround Crutcher and as he leans against his car the taser is released, immediately followed by the fatal shot.
Helicopter footage shows the incident from a different angle:
You can hear police in the helicopter stating “This looks like a bad dude. Might be on something.”
The officer that fired the fatal shot was Betty Shelby. Both her and her husband work for the police department. She has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. According to Officer Shelby’s lawyer, Shelby believed that Mr. Crutcher had a weapon. She also stated that Crutcher was acting erratically and refused to comply with several orders, though she does not address the fact that he had his hands in the air.
The United States Department of Justice has also opened a separate civil rights investigation into Crutcher’s death.
Crutcher was unarmed and no weapons were found in his vehicle. He died later that night after being taken to the hospital.