The family of an unarmed Black man shot dead by a Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer Friday evening is vehemently denying any and all police narratives that paint their loved one as a threat that needed to be neutralized.
Attorneys for the family of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher held a press conference Tuesday to address pieces of “misinformation” spouted by police concerning what led up to the fatal shooting. One of the false claims, according to attorneys, is that Crutcher failed to comply with officers’ commands and reached through the driver’s side window for a possible weapon — thus causing officers to open fire.
But according to the Tulsa World, attorneys were able to poke a massive hole in the police’s claims by presenting large, poster-sized images from police video footage that showed Crutcher’s driver-side door was closed, along with his window, which had a visible blood stain on it.
“What we want to draw to your attention is this whole notion that he was reaching into the car,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said Tuesday. “That the misinformation given about the window being down, and him putting his hand in the car, reaching for something is misinformation.”
“Don’t put out stuff that would demonize him and try to make him look like as if he was doing something nefarious,” he continued. “Put the entire story up.”
Tulsa’s police chief Chuck Jordan later confirmed that no gun was found in the Oklahoma man’s van or on his person.
Crutcher, a pastor and father of four, was shot and killed by Officer Betty Shelby as she responded to reports of an abandoned SUV blocking the road. Disturbing video of the incident showed Shelby and several other officers surrounding Crutcher as he walked back toward his car with his hands in the air. At one point, one of the responding officers discharged his stun gun, Tasing the Oklahoma man. Shelby fired the fatal shot soon afterward.
Attorney for officer Shelby, Scott Wood, told the Tulsa World that his client had recently undergone drug-recognition training and suspected that Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a dissociative drug.
“He had a very hollow look in his face, kind of a thousand-yard stare, so to speak, and would not communicate,” Wood said. “And she (Shelby) could tell he was not normal. She thought that when she saw him.”
A Tulsa police official also confirmed with the publication that a vile of PCP was found in Crutcher’s car. But authorities are still unsure whether the Oklahoma man was under the influence of the drug at the time of the incident.
PCP or no PCP, Crump said the presence of drugs in the victim’s car still doesn’t justify officer Shelby’s use of lethal force.
“Let us not be thrown a red herring and to say because something was found in the car that is justification to shoot him,” Crump said.
Shelby has since been placed on paid administrative leave.
The fatal shooting is being investigated by the Tulsa Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice.