Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are under fire after shooting a 40-year-old unarmed Black man, who called for help when his vehicle stalled, according to various media outlets and dash cam video footage.
Terence Crutcher was fatally shot Friday after police responded to calls about a stalled vehicle blocking the road, The New York Times reports.
Two police surveillance videos were simultaneously released Monday, showing Crutcher walking towards an SUV with his hands up. A female officer, identified as Betty Shelby, follows him with her gun pointed towards his back, according to dashboard footage and The Times.
Crutcher then walks all the way over to the car, and places his hands on the car. The view of the surveillance camera is obstructed, but at that moment, Crutcher is tasered by a second officer, Tyler Turnbough, and then fatally shot by Shelby.
The officers say that Crutcher was “acting erratically,” and refused to comply with orders. He put his hands in his pocket, reaching inside of his car window before he was shot, writes The Times. Shelby says she requested backup because she couldn’t get Crutcher to comply. The dash cam footage was recorded by the backup squad car, while a police helicopter captured the second video, notes the report.
Although the video footage shows Crutcher in full compliance and with his hands up, what remains unseen is the moment before he was shot, because the camera’s view was obstructed.
Helicopter footage recorded officers making the following comments:
“He’s got his hands up there for her now,” the first officer said, who was later identified as Shelby’s husband, Dave Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”
“Time for a Taser, I think,” the second officer responds.
“I got a feeling that’s about to happen,” Dave Shelby says.
“That looks like a bad dude, too,” the second officer states.
Moments later, Betty Shelby’s voice is heard over the intercom saying, “Shots fired!”
Crutcher was shot 30 seconds after the second squad car arrived. His body was sprawled in the street for two minutes before officers checked him, ABC News reports.
At a news conference on Monday, Tulsa police chief Chuck Jordan corroborated that Crutcher was unarmed and no weapon was found on his person or in his vehicle. Officer Shelby was placed on paid administrative leave, while the district attorney reviews the investigation. A separate investigation was launched by the Department of Justice, the Times reports.
Crutcher’s family, represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, relayed the repeated violence against Black citizens in police shootings. “This is an issue that seems to be an epidemic happening all around America. What are we as an American society going to do about it?” Crump asked, writes The Times.
The family wants justice and demands that the officers face charges, News On 6 reports.
Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany spoke out: “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,” she said.