Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby Shooting Of Terence Crutcher

Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby (left) shot Terence Crutcher (right).

Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby (left) shot Terence Crutcher (right).

Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby Shooting Of Terence Crutcher

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Tulsa Police Department held a press conference on Monday where they released video of the Officer Betty Shelby shooting Terence Crutcher. The internet is already blowing up over the incident and spreading misinformation.

The Basic Details About Terence Crutcher Shooting:

On September 16th, 911 callers reported that Terence Crutcher’s vehicle was running, blocking the middle of the street, partially taking up both lanes, with the driver’s door open. A 911 caller said that Crutcher ran from the vehicle saying that he thought it was going to blow up.

Officer Betty Shelby later came across the car, apparently abandoned in the middle of the roadway. Officer Shelby later called on the radio that she was out with a subject (Crutcher) who wouldn’t show her his hands, and other officers began to respond

Helicopter video starts with Crutcher back by Officer Shelly’s car. In the video, you can see Crutcher walking back towards his car with his hands in the air, ignoring commands from officers. Crutcher got back to his vehicle as other officers arrived to assist. Officer Tyler Turnbough deployed his Taser on Crutcher and Officer Shelby then shot Terence Crutcher.

After Terence Crutcher fell, officers on scene did not immediately take Crutcher into custody or attempt to render aid for around two minutes. Crutcher died of his injuries. It was later determined that Crutcher was not armed.

You can see the video of the incident here:

What We Don’t Know About Officer Betty Shelby Shooting Terence Crutcher:

We don’t have much information about what transpired after Officer Betty Shelby arrived and found the apparently abandoned vehicle, until the helicopter video starts. All we know is that Officer Shelby said that she was out with Crutcher, who was refusing to show his hands, and that Crutcher was by Officer Shelby’s car when the helicopter arrived. There was a long exchange between Officer Betty Shelby and Terence Crutcher that we know little about.

We don’t know why Crutcher ignored commands and walked back to his vehicle. Once the video starts, we still don’t know what was said to or by Crutcher. The video itself isn’t clear at the time of the shooting. Officers were standing in front of the dash camera at the time of the shooting. The quality on the helicopter video makes it tough to see what happened as well. Crutcher moved his right hand down to his side some time around the shooting, but it’s not clear if this was what prompted the shooting, or was his reaction to being shot.

Initial Impressions Of Terence Crutcher Shooting:

The following contains speculation of what may have transpired, along with the opinion of active law enforcement officers, and may not accurately reflect the events as they transpired…

There’s not enough information on this shooting to determine if it was justified or not. Terence Crutcher had been ignoring commands from officers and walking back to his vehicle. There is no reasonable, legally justified explanation for why Crutcher would have been doing that. We know from prior shootings that suspect have returned to their vehicles to access weapons. It’s unknown if that was Officer Betty Shelby’s reason for shooting. If it was, we could expect that Crutcher should have been making movements or making statements to suggest that he might be going for a weapon, which is not something that’s immediately clear.

It’s also possible that the shooting was accidental. Officer Tyler Turnbough deployed his Taser just before the shooting, and Officer Shelby could have been reacting to the noise of the Taser cartridge. If the shooting was accidental, then Officer Shelby would have been negligent in failing to obey firearms safety rules.

Additional Details About The Shooting Of Terence Crutcher:

People on the internet are pointing to a statement made by an officer in the helicopter during the incident, claiming it’s proof that there was bias in the shooting. The helicopter crew said, “That looks like a bad dude too, could be on something.” We shouldn’t have to point out that the statement was made by somebody in a helicopter, not involved in the shooting. Also, they appeared to make the statement after Terence Crutcher had been shot, before they had realized that a shooting had occurred. It’s also the helicopter officer’s opinion, given that Terence Crutcher refused to show his hands, then walked away from officers and ignored their commands once he did show his hands.

Tulsa Chief Chuck Jordan made statements promising “justice.” “I will make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case.” Jordan said, along with, “I want to assure our community, and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this, we will achieve justice, period.” Chief Jordan’s comments could easily be taken as a promise for a successful prosecution of Officer Betty Shelby, even though the investigation is still ongoing and no charges have currently been announced. Chief Jordan should be ashamed of promising something that he can’t guarantee, and while the investigation is still underway.

Terence Crutcher’s criminal history shows that he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer in 1996, but initial reports show nothing of note in the past 20 years.

Final Thoughts On Terence Crutcher And Officer Betty Shelby:

We don’t see the video as definitive evidence if the shooting of Terence Crutcher by Officer Betty Shelby was justified or not. Based on unreleased details, it could go either way. If the shooting was accidental, then it would certainly be negligent. People should wait for the investigation to unfold before cementing in their minds if the shooting was justified or not.

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