ABC 7 Terence Crutcher
Washington Post Tyre King
The Root Tyre King
Terence Crutcher’s car stalled on a highway outside Tulsa, Oklahoma the other night and it cost him his life.
Crutcher, a black man, was killed by Officer Betty Shelby, a white Oklahoma police officer, who responded to a call about the vehicle. Dash camera video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV with his hands up and a female officer following him. As he nears the driver's side door, three male officers walk up and Crutcher lowers his hands and places them on his car. The officers surround him, making it harder to see what happened next, but then he falls to the ground after being tasered by Officer Tyler Turnbough.
Someone on the police radio says:
"I think he may have just been tasered."
One of the officers near Crutcher backs up slightly and then someone yells:
Crutcher's head drops and he falls to the ground. Then, someone on the police radio says:
"Shots fired. We have one suspect down."
One suspect? Suspect? A Tulsa police helicopter flies overhead capturing the entire scene, and a man’s voice in the video is heard saying that it was "time for a Taser." He then says:
"That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something."Terence Crutcher had no weapon on him, there was no weapon in his car; it’s unclear why Officer Shelby opted to, well, I’ll just say it, murder him, after he’d been tasered by her fellow officer.
Tiffany Crutcher, Terence’s twin, had this to say:
"The big bad dude was my twin brother. That big bad dude was a father," she said. "That big bad dude was a son. That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College, just wanting to make us proud. That big bad dude loved God. That big bad dude was at church singing with all of his flaws, every week. That big bad dude, that's who he was."And therein lies the problem; it seems quite clear that officers on the scene and in the air viewed Crutcher as a “bad dude,” and he may have been; but he was on the ground, he’d been handled, and then he was killed.
A police spokeswoman says Terence Crutcher was not obeying the officers' commands but his hands were up, he was back at his car, he was surrounded by officers, he was tasered.
Then he was dead. And he’s not the only one …
In Columbus, Ohio last week police officers responded to a report of a man saying he was robbed at gunpoint but not injured. When officers arrived, the person who reported the attempted robbery said a group of people — one carrying what appeared to be a gun — demanded money; the officers then saw three people matching the descriptions they had been given and approached them. Two of them ran off, and officers pursued them to an alley where, officers say, “one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband” and Officer Bryan Mason opened fire, hitting the suspect multiple times.
That person was 13-year-old Tyre King; he died a short time later.
Detectives investigating the scene say they found what appeared to be a gun, but “upon further inspection, it turned out to be a BB gun with an attached laser site.
Sadly, this case bears striking resemblance to the case of the police shooting of 12-year0old Tamir Rice two years ago, as he sat in a park holding a toy gun.
So, in light of the shooting deaths of two young black men holding toy guns, I think we need to rethink our gun control laws and make it legal and safe for anyone to hold a gun, real or toy, and openly carry that weapon, as long as they are white. You know, just to be safe.
Now, could Tyre King have been involved in this robbery? Perhaps, though we’ll never know for sure because he’s dead. And say he was robbing that man on the street; robbery is not a capital offense in this country and yet the idea that he’d done it cost him his life. But I can’t shake the idea that officers might not be telling the truth — Columbus officers don’t wear body cameras — when they say Tyre pulled the gun from his waistband — the same thing, later found to be untrue, that was said of Tamir Rice. I mean, he’s being chased by police and cornered in an alley, why pull a toy gun? Why pull a gun at all?
And I get that officers sometimes cannot tell if a gun is a toy or a real weapon, but I also think sometimes officers act, and react, too quickly, especially in the cases of black men and women, and black children.
He was a boy who is now dead and all because someone thought he committed a crime and thought he had a gun and saw him as a threat.
And that is the problem.