Horrifying video released by the Police Department in Tulsa, Okla., on Monday shows an encounter in which a white police officer fatally shoots an unarmed black man who could be seen with raised hands above his head.
Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot once and killed by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, after the police received reports of an abandoned vehicle blocking a road, the department said. Video recorded from police helicopter and a patrol car’s dashboard camera shows Crutcher with raised hands, walking toward the vehicle and leaning against it. Crutcher was then Tasered by one officer, Tyler Turnbough, and fatally shot by Officer Shelby.
In an interview, Officer Shelby’s lawyer, Scott Wood, said the officer had thought that Mr. Crutcher had a weapon. Mr. Wood said Mr. Crutcher had acted erratically, refused to comply with several orders, tried to put his hand in his pocket and reached inside his car window before he was shot.According to Tulsa’s police chief, Chuck Jordan, Crutcher was unarmed and did not have a weapon in his vehicle.
Shane Tuell, a police spokesman, said Officer Shelby gave a statement to homicide detectives on Monday morning. She is on paid administrative leave, the department said. The department opened a criminal investigation into the shooting and said the Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, would review its findings. The federal Justice Department opened a separate civil rights investigation.
Helicopter officer’s communication:
“He’s got his hands up there for her now,” one officer aboard the helicopter can be heard saying. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”
“Time for a Taser, I think,” a second officer in the helicopter can be heard saying.
“I got a feeling that’s about to happen,” said the first officer, identified by Mr. Wood as Officer Shelby’s husband, Dave Shelby.
“That looks like a bad dude, too,” the second officer said. Mr. Crutcher was shot moments later, and the helicopter camera captured footage of him sprawled on the pavement, his shirt stained with blood. A woman’s voice can be heard yelling over the radio, “Shots fired!”