Use of deadly force questioned in Tulsa police shooting

TULSA, Okla. -- The funeral for Terence Crutcher, the unarmed black man shot and killed by a white female police officer in Oklahoma, will be Saturday. Crutcher died Friday after police responded to a report of a stalled vehicle.

Lawyers for Crutcher’s family said he posed no imminent threat to officers when he was shot. They disputed the allegation that Crutcher was reaching into his vehicle, and hammered home that the police department found no weapon inside that disabled SUV.

Crutcher’s sport utility vehicle was idling in the middle of a Tulsa road Friday night. His hands were up and he was walking.

Tulsa police said Crutcher failed to obey officers’ commands and tried to reach inside his vehicle. The 40-year-old father of four was tased by one officer then shot by another.

“This is clearly a case of excessive force,” Crutcher family attorney Benjamin Crump said.

In an attempt to poke holes in the police department’s reason for “deadly force,” Crump said enlarged still images show the driver’s side window was up.

“How can he be reaching into the car if the window is up and there’s blood on the glass?” Crump said.

According to KOTV, Tulsa’s CBS affiliate, a police sergeant said officers found a vial of the hallucinogenic drug PCP inside Crutcher’s vehicle, along with his wallet and school books.

Scott Wood, who is representing officer Betty Shelby, said Monday she pulled the trigger in fear for her life.

“It went from ‘Hey man, is this your car?’ all the way up to literally screaming at him to stop what he was doing,” Wood said.

While the Department of Justice has opened up a civil rights investigation over allegations of excessive force, Shelby is on paid administrative leave.

Protesters at police headquarters said the policing was alarming.

“My soul hurts, my soul hurts, that’s why I’m here. Justice. It’s not right. … We saw the tape. Everyone saw the tape,” Ardelia Jackson said.

Protesters now want officer Officer Shelby to be fired. The state’s governor called video of the shooting “troubling.”

The shooting was captured on three cameras, the helicopter and two police dash cams. But none of the officers was wearing a body camera. Tulsa police got nearly $600,000 in federal grants earmarked for body cameras last year, but the department still doesn’t have them.