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Cops Now Shooting Black People When Their Cars Break Down, Which Makes All Kinds Of Sense
Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shot and killed an unarmed black motorist, Terence Crutcher, on Friday, Sept. 16, after responding to a call about his disabled SUV. Video of the shooting shows Crutcher with his hands in the air, apparently complying with police orders, but the police almost certainly had a very good reason for shooting Crutcher dead, because they always have a very good reason for shooting unarmed black people, don't they? Yr Wonkette would like to apologize in advance for our outrageous racism in even noting that Crutcher, 40, was black and the officer who shot him, Betty Shelby, is white. We're sure Fox News can explain to us what Crutcher did to deserve being shot, even if it was something he did 20 years ago.
The Justice Department and state authorities are investigating the shooting; in graphic video taken from a police helicopter, Crutcher can be seen walking toward his SUV with his hands up, as one of the airborne cops describes Crutcher as "a bad dude, could be on something," which is the sort of assessment easily made by a seasoned professional several hundred feet up. As the helicopter circles around, Crutcher falls to the pavement and a female voice calls over the radio "shots fired!"
CNN reports Officer Shelby was first on the scene, after responding to a 911 call from a woman who said the SUV was "abandoned" in the middle of the road; the woman told the 911 operator "the guy was running from [the vehicle]" after telling her it was going to "blow up." It's not clear whether the 911 dispatcher relayed that information to Shelby.
Shelby told the dispatcher that "she's not having cooperation" from Crutcher, according to [Tulsa Police Chief Chuck] Jordan at a Monday news conference. The police chief declined to offer more information regarding the lack of cooperation Shelby faced [...]
Jeanne MacKenzie, Tulsa Police public information officer, said that the responding officers on the ground thought Crutcher had reached his hands into the driver's side window of the vehicle.
Well, then, that's all the evidence we need, he was uncooperative and had to be shot, right? Or maybe not -- at Monday's news conference Chief Jordan called the video of the shooting "very disturbing and difficult to watch," and acknowledged, "I'm going to tell you right here now: There was no gun on the suspect or in the suspect's vehicle." He said that Crutcher had been tased by Officer Tyler Turnbough and that Shelby had fired a single shot. Jordan also promised, "We will do the right thing: We will not cover anything up."
Terence Crutcher and his twin sister, Tiffany, had celebrated their 40th birthday on August 16; Mr. Crutcher had recently enrolled in community college. According to the Tulsa World, he sang weekly in his church choir, where his father played the organ and two of his daughters also sang in the choir. His pastor, Terry Shannon, said “He had a beautiful voice.” Then again, he also appeared to be a bad dude, so eventually we'll find out that he was no angel.
Officer Shelby has been placed on paid administrative leave; her attorney, Scott Wood, said Tuesday that Crutcher was not complying with Shelby's commands:
He has his hands up and is facing the car and looks at Shelby, and his left hand goes through the car window, and that's when she fired her shot[.]
We've watched the video -- it's graphic, so we're not embedding it -- a few times and while it appears Crutcher may be reaching into the window of his vehicle, he is moving slowly and appears to have been tasered and shot without having made any sudden movements. We are not lawyers, but we're fairly certain that noncompliance with orders you may or may not be able to hear while a helicopter hovers above is not a capital offense. At least not yet; it could be one of those "first day in office" things for President Trump.
Officer Shelby has been employed by the Tulsa PD since 2011. Perhaps Crutcher's family can take some comfort that he was at least shot dead by a full-time cop, and not by a wannabe deputy who bought himself a badge and a gun by making generous donations to the Sheriff's department like the killer of another black Tulsa man in 2015 did.
The Washington Post updates 2016's tally:
Crutcher is one of at least 680 people -- 161 of them black men -- who have been shot and killed by police officers this year, according to a Washington Post database tracking police shootings.
Crutcher's family is especially outraged by the helicopter officer's description of Crutcher as a "bad dude":
“We’re truly devastated; the entire family is devastated,” Tiffany Crutcher said. “That big bad dude was a father, that big bad dude was a son, that big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College just wanting to make us all proud, that big bad dude loved God, that big bad dude was in church singing with all of his flaws every week.”
We're certain the Usual Police Shooting Apologists will thoroughly examine those flaws to justify Crutcher's shooting.
In the meantime, all black motorists are advised to always comply with all police orders, however contradictory -- such as "don't move" and "get on the ground" -- or perhaps to simply lie facedown on the ground (slowly, for chrissakes) whenever they see a police officer. For that matter, with so many services available online, it's entirely possible for black people to simply stay indoors and never go out in public again, which might be safest. In any case, the important thing to remember is that we need to have a serious national conversation about black-on-black crime.