The video showing an Oklahoma cop shoot and kill Terence Crutcher after he had his hands in the air, only to later claim he was not complying, is so outrageous that even an Ohio police chief took to social media to voice his disgust.
And that is something we never see.
But Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw1 said he could not remain silent after watching Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby shoot and kill Terence Crutcher, tweeting the following message Tuesday, which has been retweeted almost 6,000 times as of this writing.
Crutcher’s only crime was that his car had stalled in the middle of the road, which prompted Tulsa police to dispatch a helicopter and several patrol cars after receiving calls that the car may have been smoking and that its driver was walking away from it.
Shelby claims she pulled up to an abandoned vehicle, but then Crutcher walked towards her car from the side of the road, making her fear for her life, even though he was probably under the false impression that she was there to help him.1
Although Tulsa police released several dash cam videos, they did not release the one from Shelby’s car, which would allow us to see what exactly spooked her. In an audio recording to dispatch, she claims she is unable to see his hands.
However, videos from a second patrol car as well as the helicopter show Shelby pointing her gun at Crutcher as he walks towards his car with his hands in the air.
The other cops arrive also pull out their guns while a cop in the helicopter – which is being piloted by Shelby’s husband – is saying Crutcher looks like a “bad dude.”
It appears as if Shelby fired her gun after another officer fired his taser, even though it did not appear to be any need for that either. The 40-year-old father of four was killed instantly.
Muterspaw, a 26-year veteran of the police department, said when he became chief two years ago, he focused on community outreach to improve the department’s relationship with the community.
And although most every police chief will claim the same spiel, those chiefs would never criticize another cop in a police killing, even if it was obvious they were not justified.
But Muterspaw, whose Twitter profile states, “lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep,” is saying what many of us are thinking.
According to the Journal-News:
Muterspaw said the shooting may have been an accident. He said it was strange that Crutcher was shot with a stun gun, then shot. He also found it odd that there were four officers at the scene and Shelby was the only one who fired a shot. Muterspaw said he always wear his Taser and gun on different sides to avoid potential mistakes.
Since being named police chief two years ago, Muterspaw said his department has increased its community relations and outreach. He said the police department and the residents have a positive relationship, but he knows one shooting could change all of that.
When there’s “questionable” shootings like the one in Tulsa, he said: “It’s sets us back every time and it’s hard to get a grip on what we are trying to do.”
On Tuesday, Muterspaw said he received phone calls and text messages from local leaders and pastors. His message to them: “You are safe,” said Muterspaw, who added less than 1 percent of police officers are involved in a shooting.
He said Middletown officers have removed 137 weapons from suspects this year without firing their guns.
Muterspaw said he will use the shooting in Tulsa as a training tool for his officers. He talked with detectives Tuesday and plans to discuss the shooting with his patrol officers, too.
Shelby’s attorney is saying the shooting was justified because Crutcher was trying to reach into his car and into his pockets, but not only does the window appear closed, it is likely he was only trying to reach for his identification.
But we know that is never a guarantee you won’t be shot.
Shelby is also now claiming that she believed Crutcher was high on PCP because she had recently taken a training class that gave her expertise in drug recognition.
But she never once mentioned this to dispatch before she killed him, so we can assume she is lying.
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Oklahoma is demanding that Shelby be criminally charged.
Here is the Middletown Police Department’s Facebook page and here is the Tulsa Police Department’s Facebook page.
UPDATE: The Tulsa Police Department is now saying they found a vial of PCP in Crutcher’s car, so it looks like they are turning on the Police PR Spin Machine.
After all, why didn’t they say anything beforehand when you know they tore the vehicle apart looking for some type of justification to have killed him, including guns, drugs or alcohol?
And why did they just happen to find PCP hours after Betty Shelby’s attorney told the press that the cop suspected Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, even though she never said this to dispatch before she killed him?
And who the hell does PCP anymore anyway? Didn’t that go out in the 70s?
UPDATE II: Although initial reports stated that Crutcher had not been in any legal trouble since the 90s, only to serve a suspended six month sentence, it is now being revealed that he had been released from prison in May, where he was serving time for drug trafficking.
Not that it would justify the shooting.