Last Friday, a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shot and killed Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old Black man, whose vehicle had stalled. Another officer used a Taser on him.
Authorities said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. Police said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist. Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie has said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands.Dashcam footage of the shooting has already been shown to Crutcher's family members and community leaders, ahead of its public release. They said "it clearly shows that Crutcher's hands were in the air when he was shot."
Police say Tulsa officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher. Both officers are white, MacKenzie said Monday.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for his family, said at a press conference: "We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent."
It pains me that they need to say this. It pains me to know that there are people who believe that "sudden movements" or "belligerence" are justification for being fatally shot by police.
Black people should not have to be perfect in order to live. That is the most unreasonable expectation. That is an impossible standard.
Think just for a moment about the millions of viral videos, the countless segments of that disgusting show COPS, showing white people acting like dangerous, disrespectful, antagonistic fools with police officers. Think just for a moment of the white people you probably know who have done something stupid and reckless and maybe even criminal, yet walked away from an encounter with police. Think of the white mass murderers who have been taken alive in handcuffs. Think of how very different white people's expectations of police interactions are, and vice versa; how white people are never expected to read police officers' minds and behave in precise accordance with their expectations just to stay alive.
This is just fundamental inequality. Rank racism in action. Over and over.
My sincerest condolences to Crutcher's family, friends, colleagues, and community. I grieve with you, and I take up space in solidarity with you.
You have my sympathy and my rage. I'm so sorry. I'm so angry.