Last Friday, an unarmed black man named Terence Crutcher experienced car trouble in north Tulsa. Both dashcam video and helicopter footage revealed him walking away from police with his hands in the air. One officer in the helicopter could be heard remarking how Crutcher “looks like a bad dude.”
What happened next — and ended in his tasing and death after Officer Betty Shelby shot him — has become the subject of much speculation. Reports suggested drugs were in the vehicle, although that is a point of dispute (along with several other rumors/contentions in this case), and outlets dug into Shelby’s past history of excessive force complaints. The internet and cable news will continue to argue about this case, but in the meantime, Tulsa Country District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has determined that the evidence is sufficient to charge Shelby with first-degree manslaughter. The Oklahoma Supreme Court Network defines the offense to include the following:
1. When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor.
2. When perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide.
3. When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.
Crutcher’s funeral is scheduled for this weekend while the FBI and the Department of Justice continue to review the case. Since the footage of Crutcher’s death was released on Monday, peaceful protests have been ongoing in the joint courtyard area in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse and Tulsa Sheriff’s Department. This photo is particularly affecting.