I’ll ask all the excruciating questions the so-called “mainstream” corporate media here won’t in the weeks to come: Is Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, a white woman, and her fellow officer accomplices pretty much ruthless killers for apparently shooting to death an unarmed black man, Terrence Crutcher, after his arms were raised in surrender last week and then letting him die in the middle of the road without giving him medical help?
Or, how about this one: Are Shelby and her fellow officers simply poorly trained and who panicked for no apparent reason or are racist and came out, “pistols firing,” in a place where the lives of black people have been on the line for a long, long time by Tulsa’s numerous bigots and haters? Tulsa’s checkered history of bigotry pretty much defines the epitome of racism here in Oklahoma. It’s a despicable and disgusting history and now Tulsa has become yet another contemporary and depressing symbol of white privilege and police brutality.
How can the Tulsa police officers who milled casually around the downed and completely immobile Crutcher—that’s clear from the video—without giving him medical help for at least a couple of minutes live with themselves now, and how much jail time do they deserve? Life in prison? Maybe 50 to 75 years with a slight chance of parole? Ten years, just like some people convicted of possession of marijuana or methamphetamine here, which destroys their lives forever? A two-day suspension from the force? A letter of reprimand? No punishment? A commendation?
Let me be clear that I’m adamantly against the death penalty, but will our execution-supporting prosecutors in the continued right-wing nightmare of this place of botched lethal injection killings demand it in a potential case against Shelby and other officers who probably let him die or will they get life in prison without parole? Oh yeah, to be intentionally true and yet depressingly sarcastic at the same time the most probable option will be that Shelby gets off completely and will still be allowed to be on the police force so she can potentially kill or harm people again. We all know that, don’t we?
Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip, the next “supposed offender” sentenced to die by lethal injection here, sits on death row, and no one has ever claimed he killed anyone. Oklahoma has a brutal and cruel culture. People here are not nice. The majority of voters here are racist, mean and narrow-minded
Here’s an article about what we know for now about the facts of the killing. An overview: 40-year-old Crutcher, a black man, apparently stopped his car or it stalled on a Tulsa street Friday night. Officers arrived. A dash cam video showed Crutcher raising him arms in a surrender motion for whatever reason. As the officers converged on him their bodies obscure some of the dash-cam video (see above). Police officials later said he was shot with a stun gun and also with a police weapon by Shelby, a white woman, about at the same time. Shelby’s bullet went into his chest, initial reports claim. He didn’t have a weapon on his body or in his vehicle. Police officers apparently claim, according to media reports, with at least at this point no corroborating visual evidence that Crutcher reached into his car and wasn’t following instructions after he raised his arms. A police detective claims that the drug PCP was later found in his car.
Here’s how the cover-up begins if you read through the lines of the story to which I linked above. This is the most important paragraph in my mind:
Police Chief Chuck Jordan said no weapon was recovered from the scene of the shooting, after a white officer shot and killed the 40-year-old black man. Jordan didn’t volunteer more details about the shooting.
No more details? Here’s one I’ll offer up: It’s another senseless killing of a black person by police in this summer of American racial strife. I commend Jordan for releasing the video, but what happens now with charges and even more transparency is the crucial thing. The signs are not encouraging.
I get it that the facts of the case must be sorted out, but the video is fairly clear that Crutcher was docile and cooperating. Even if he came out swinging with his fists suddenly after his arms were raised in surrender for whatever reason, he could have been easily subdued through the use of the stun gun or just by physical force by all the officers present, as the video shows. Even if he was under the influence of an intoxicating substance, as the police were quick to imply and later tried to prove in a rather obfuscated manner without the police chief weighing it, he still doesn’t seem anywhere close to a threat to anyone on the video.
Crutcher’s family’s attorneys in a press conference showed the car’s windows were rolled up and one was apparently covered with his blood. How could he be reaching into the car?
This is what “bad dude”—that’s what one police officer was recorded calling Crutcher even before anyone knew one thing about the situation—police officers do in our culture today. They kill, then join ranks and demonize the people they shoot dead, which makes it even doubly worse for the family and friends of the dead person. It’s a broken system. Kill. Demonize. Cover it up. That’s the new police motto.
The case calls for major investigations on different levels by outside federal authorities, and, of course, the U.S. Justice Department has already announced it will look into it. I don’t trust the racist city of Tulsa or this right-wing’s state officials to investigate this killing of a person of color truthfully or fully. The Black Lives Matter movement needs to organize major continuous protests and marches in the streets for weeks maybe months. The police and the racists don’t get it. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has emboldened the country’s authoritarians and bigots to commit to violent tactics against people of minority communities at the slightest provocation or even none at all.
People need to vote against Trump’s racism and the accompanying basic police violence on Nov. 8. The police are coming for YOU next, whether you’re a person of color of white. Many ignorant and poorly trained police officers have declared a violent war on the people they are supposed to protect.
Crutcher was the father of four children, according to media reports. His family has said he was on the way home from a class he was taking at Tulsa Community College when he had car trouble.
Then he was apparently shot dead by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who is now getting paid her salary for not working as the police department supposedly investigates and spins what happened.