The Wednesday Read: Shots Fired

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law. – Earl Warren

I happened to catch the segment “Shots Fired” on 60 Minutes the other night and had to offer my opinion. You can read/watch the segment HERE.

Back in September 2016, Betty Shelby a white police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old African-American man. Crutcher was unarmed.

Shelby has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

An autopsy showed Crutcher had PCP in his system as well as another drug similar to PCP. As for his past, he had served five years in prison for selling crack cocaine and supposedly had an on-going drug problem. His family said he was attempting to turn his life around and was attending church and taking college classes.

After watching the videos a couple of times and reading about the incident from several sources, I would be surprised if Officer Shelby is found guilty.

Officer Shelby shouted instructions to Crutcher many times. He never obeyed her lawful orders maybe because he was high on PCP. He kept walking back toward his vehicle. She claims he started to reach inside the vehicle and fearing he was getting a weapon, she fired her weapon one time. Another police officer fired a taser at him at just about the exact same time.

The angle of the video does not really show Crutcher starting to reach inside the vehicle and I think this may be the only hope of raising doubt in the jury’s mind. Maybe Shelby could have used a taser instead of her handgun to handle the situation?

Police officers put their lives on the line every day. Yes, they make mistakes and some officers can be kind and some officers can be jerks. If Crutcher would have obeyed Officer Shelby’s orders from the beginning, he would probably be alive today. It does not matter the color of the skin of either – when a police officer gives you a command, follow it. If you do there’s a good chance both you and the officer will leave that location alive.

The trial is set to begin May 8.