TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Video of the fatal police shooting of a Black man in Tulsa shows that the man’s “hands were in the air,” according to a pastor who saw the footage, which is scheduled to be released to the public on Monday.
(Screen still from video footage released by Tulsa Police Department)
Rodney Goss, a pastor at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Tulsa, told the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2cINS4j) that he was appalled after seeing video clips that were released Sunday to local community leaders and to the family of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. Crutcher was shot by a White Tulsa police officer when he reached into his stalled SUV on Friday.
Authorities, who spelled Crutcher’s first name on a police report as “Terrence,” haven’t said whether Crutcher had a weapon but say he refused police orders to put up his hands.
Goss and others were shown dash-camera video from two of the responding officers’ vehicles, along with video from a police helicopter camera. Goss said Crutcher didn’t exhibit behavior that would potentially warrant being shot by a police officer.
“His hands were in the air from all views,” Goss said.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell confirmed that relatives were shown the recordings Sunday ahead of the planned public release. Police scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon to publicly release the footage.
“We wanted them to see it before it was released so they wouldn’t be blindsided by it,” Tuell said. “We wanted to be able to have that intimate time with them, with their attorney, to see if they had any questions or concerns.
“With something of this magnitude, we’re trying an approach that we believe is necessary to further that transparency.”
Goss said the public should respond with reason, not violence. Pleas Thompson, president of the NAACP’s Tulsa chapter, also saw the videos. He didn’t provide details but told the newspaper that he expects the public’s reaction to be “level-headed” following the videos’ release.
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.
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.
Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, told reporters Saturday that the family is heartbroken. She said her brother had left a class at Tulsa Community College when his SUV stalled in the street. She also said she was confident that her brother wasn’t carrying a gun.
The police chief has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to help investigate the shooting.