By: Micah Price ~Staff Writer~
The Justice Department has announced an investigation into the death of Terence Crutcher, 40, who was fatally shot by police Sept. 16 in Tulsa, Okla.
Many details of the shooting have yet to be released, but footage from the police vehicle and aerial footage of the incident provide some narrative to the incident.
Tulsa Police report that they initially responded to reports of a stalled vehicle. Police also report that Crutcher was unarmed but that this was unknown to them at the time.
It was also reported by ABC News that Crutcher had no court records other than decades-old traffic violations.
Video of the incident shows multiple officers with weapons drawn as Crutcher slowly approached his parked car with his hands in the air.
“Crutcher refused to follow commands given by the officers,” a spokeswoman for Tulsa Police said. “They continued to talk to him. He continued not to listen and follow any commands. As they got closer to the vehicle, he reached inside the vehicle, and at that time there was a Taser deployment, and a short time later there was one shot fired.”
Aerial footage taken from a helicopter shows Crutcher walking down the road slowly. He does not turn toward the officers before placing his hands on the top of his white SUV.
With three officers in a line, and another in tow behind, Crutcher falls to the pavement. Blood visibly pools around him. No one checks on him for approximately two minutes.
“The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of force by law enforcement officers and will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated,” U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said.
Williams also said that the Justice Department’s investigation will be independent of local authorities.
Most Americans will recognize the narrative of this incident as a pattern, as it is reminiscent of Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Minnesota and several other police- involved shootings.
The officer identified as having pulled the trigger is Betty Shelby. Her lawyer, Scott Wood, told Tulsa World that she believed Crutcher was armed when she shot him.
According to the World, since 2007, Tulsa Police have been involved in 24 fatal shootings.