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Another Shooting…Another Unarmed Black Man Dead: Is this America’s New Normal?




by G. Brown

The video is like a rewind of so many police shootings that we’ve watched over and over.  Except this time it was Tulsa Oklahoma police who opened fire on 40 year old Terence Crutcher.

According to Huffington Post, Crutcher was on his way home from taking classes at a nearby school where he was enrolled in night school when his car broke down and stopped in the middle of the highway.  Video from the scene shows Crutcher walking with his arms in the air…two more officers rush into frame joining he two officers who are already in view. As the four officers form a wall between the camera and Crutcher, you see Crutcher fall to the ground.  Here’s the police car video of the incident.

Officer Betty Shelby has been identified as discharging the fatal shot.  Another officer also used his stun gun on Crutcher though we don’t know if the victim was stunned before, after or simultaneously with Shelby shooting him. The officers claim Crutcher did not obey their commands and as all four converge around him, they block the camera and prevent us from getting a clear view of exactly what happened.

An  attorney for officer Shelby says  earlier, Crutcher refused to comply by getting down on the ground and to stop walking.  The attorney claims Officer Shelby sensed something wasn’t quite right about Crutcher, “He had a very hollow look in his face, kind of a thousand-yard stare, so to speak, and would not communicate. And she could tell he was not normal.”  Of course, all of this happen before the cameras were rolling.

The Tulsa police chief admits the video is “very disturbing” “and “difficult to watch”, but he also promised, “We will achieve justice in this case.” The terence-crutcher-4-e1474303289961Crutcher family is not relying on that promise and have hired an attorney who says the police are already changing details of what actually happened.  The attorney says police claim Crutcher died at the hospital, but he says Crutcher died on the street where we see him fall.  Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons also says, “We saw that Terence did not have any weapon…We saw that Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent. We did not see Terence reach into the car. We did not see Terence attacking the officers.

All of what the attorney says is clearly visible on the video, but we’ve also seen that the story video tells us and what we can witness with our own two eyes, won’t outweigh the story that police tell as to why they shot Crutcher.  The video didn’t matter in Eric Garner’s death, Sandra Bland’s arrest and it’s doubtful that it will matter now.

It’s also curious how we go a couple to three months without incidents, then another police shooting occurs followed by another shortly thereafter.  Almost like clockwork or a pattern. Almost like the public is being trained to expect a clash between police and Blacks that will end in death.  With each death, people become more desensitized and apathetic…”another Black person killed by another cop”.

Just like in the other cases, there are questions…like why 4 eventually 5 officers needed to shoot Crutcher with both a handgun and stun gun?  Why did 5 officers feel threatened by one man with his hands up?  Is it coincidence that the officers manage to block the camera and our field of vision so we can’t see what actually happened or was it their intention to shield their actions?

The Tulsa police chief promises “justice”, but history from Garner to Tamir Rice to  so many others has indeed trained us . It’s trained us to not really expect to see any justice when it comes to police officers shooting Blacks.

What do you think about why these shootings are occurring too regularly? Is there some bigger plan in motion or are all the shootings just proof that police officers are poorly trained?



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