Cop Who Murdered Terence Crutcher Thought He Was High On PCP
By Daily News
The Tulsa police officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher after his car broke down in the middle of the street thought
the unarmed man was behaving erratically and that he may have been under the influence of PCP, the cop’s attorney said.
Officer Betty Shelby, who is seen on police video firing a single fatal shot at close range at Crutcher, had recently undergone drug-recognition training and believed Crutcher was high on the dissociative sedative, attorney Scott Wood told the Tulsa World.
Video of the moments leading up to the shooting, however, shows Crutcher, 40, walking slowly towards his SUV with his hands high in the air.
“The video shows that he was not belligerent,” attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, who is representing the Crutcher family, told The Daily News. “The video shows what the video shows. That’s the great thing about video … it has no biases,” he said.
Wood came out in defense of Shelby as the U.S. Department of Justice announced they are opening an investigation into whether civil rights were violated when Crutcher was both Tasered and shot during the roadside investigation.
The Department of Justice probe is separate from the local district attorney investigation into whether the shooting was justified.
Shelby was the first officer to arrive to the scene around 7:40 p.m. on Friday night and wasn’t “really sure what’s going on” when she saw that Crutcher’s SUV was straddling the center line of the northeast Tulsa road with its engine idling and its doors open, her attorney said.
Crutcher’s car had broken down after he left a music appreciation class at Tulsa Community College, his family has said.
Wood said that Shelby radioed for backup after the father-of-four “never makes any response to her” and after he wouldn’t follow orders. Wood said that Crutcher “had his head tilted down but eyes on and fixated on” Shelby and wouldn’t tell her whether the SUV belonged to him.
Shelby’s dash cam was never activated because she never turned on her tops lights or sirens, so there is no video footage showing the two minutes that Shelby first arrived to the scene and interacted with Crutcher.
Helicopter footage and video from another squad car show Crutcher following officers’ orders to raise his hands up until the moment he is gunned down.
“The video shows that officers were not in any immediate danger. The video shows that Terence did not make any sudden movements,” Solomon-Simmons told the News.
Crutcher is approaching his car with his back turned to officers when another officer, Tyler Turnbough, deploys his Taser. Shelby simultaneously fires a single, fatal gunshot into him.
Shelby shoots when Crutcher’s “left hand goes through the car window” — but no weapon was ever found on him or inside of his car. Wood says that Shelby had cleared the driver’s side of the car prior to the shooting.
Shelby can be heard yelling “Shots fired!” over the radio, telling dispatchers, “I’ve got a subject who won’t show me his hands.”
One of the two officers in the helicopter hovering over the scene can be heard saying “Looks like a bad dude, too. Could be on something.”
Crutcher’s family have called for charges against Shelby and for peaceful protests.
“You all want to know who that ‘big bad dude’ was?’ That ‘big bad dude’ was my big brother. That ‘big bad dude’ was a father, that ‘big bad dude’ was a son,” Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said at a press conference on Monday.
Shelby, who has been on the force since 2011, was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.