- Victim had his hands in the air when officer shot him;
- He caused his death when he ignored my commands to go on his knees, says officer;
- He was behaving like a ‘zombie’, says officer;
- ‘I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by six, says female white officer;
- Victim wasn’t aggressive and showed no sign of aggression towards her, officer confirmed;
The white Tulsa, Oklahoma officer who was charged for killing an African-American last year said the shooting wasn’t race motivated when she shot dead the unarmed black man. The female officer contented that the man was the “cause” of his death when he ignored her commands, but tried reaching for his vehicle to get what she believed was a gun.
“I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat,” Officer Betty Shelby said Sunday during an interview on 60 Minutes.
Shelby is charged for felony manslaughter and due to stand trial next month in the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40, on September 16.
Shelby’s first public comments since she was arrested was that Crutcher kept putting his hands in his pockets. That he didn’t stop moving when she ordered him to, she said, and he appeared to be sizing her up before reaching into the vehicle. Shelby said she feared for her life.
“I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life, but he caused the situation to occur,” she said. “So, in the end he caused his own (death).”
Crutcher’s sister: The officer ‘didn’t pause’
In a fact finding video taken from a police helicopter, the victim was seen walking away from Shelby toward his vehicle with his arms in the air before he was. No gun or weapon was found in Crutcher’s vehicle.
Crutcher’s death sparked investigations by state authorities and the Justice Department into the shooting death of the victim by Shelby.
Although she pleaded not guilty, if convicted of first-degree manslaughter, Shelby will be sentenced to minimum for years to life, said Susan Witt, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
The complaint against Shelby holds that her “fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting” Crutcher dead. Shelby is accused of “unlawfully and unnecessarily” shooting him after he did not comply with her “lawful orders.”
Bereaved Tiffany Crutcher, the victim’s twin sister noted that her brother pose no threat to the officer.
“What we saw on that video is what my dad always taught us to do if we were pulled up by a police officer: put your hands in the air and put your hands on the car,” she said. “And my brother did what my father taught us.”
Tiffany said her brother died because Shelby “didn’t pause.”
“And because she didn’t pause, my family, we’ve had a pause,” she said. “We’ve had to stop. We’ve had to lay down every single night with tears in our eyes.”
She added: “There was absolutely no justification whatsoever, with all the backup, for Officer Shelby to pull that trigger.”
Crutcher’s behavior was ‘zombie-like,’ officer says
In the interview, Shelby she argued that her actions was justified as she describes the incident that was not video recorded.
Shelby was driving to a domestic violence call when she saw a Crutcher standing in the road. Shelby said she found the 6-foot, 240-pound man’s behavior concerning.
“His hands are just dropped beside him, his chin is resting on his chest, and he’s standing there motionless,” she said. “I thought … I wonder if he’s on PCP.”
Shelby described Crutcher’s behavior as “zombie-like.”
An autopsy found Phencyclidine, or PCP, in Crutcher’s system at the time of his fatal shooting, according to the toxicology report released with his autopsy by the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. The report did not indicate when the drug entered his system.
In her story, Shelby said she continued driving and found an abandoned SUV on the middle of the road. And she didn’t activate her dash camera because she thought it was a broken-down vehicle.
However, she said she noticed the SUV’s vehicle was running and the windows were down. And she suspiciously looked inside to see if anyone was hurt.
Shelby said she then saw Crutcher walking in her direction and towards the SUV. She said she asked him if the vehicle was his but Crutcher mumbled something incoherent and put his hands in his pocket she noted.
According to Shelby, when she ordered him to take his hands off his pockets he immediately put his hand in the air.
“I’ve encountered people putting their hands in their pockets and I find a loaded gun in their pocket,” she said.
Officer: ‘Race had nothing to do’ with shooting
Shelby confirmed that Crutcher was not aggressive and showed no sign of aggression towards her.
“Is it possible that you saw him as more dangerous because he was a large black man?” correspondent Bill Whitaker asked.
“Race had nothing to do with my decision-making,” she said.
Shelby allege that Crutcher ignored her orders to get on his knees and continued walking towards the SUV, even though she had drawn her weapon. According to her, even though his hands was in the air, he kept looking back at her and at the vehicle. She said she believed Crutcher would harm her.
Shelby said she felt the victim “calculating how he can get to his vehicle to get whatever weapon it is that he’s going to get because he didn’t find it in his pocket.”
She said that as Crutcher got close to his vehicle, “his shoulders drop, his arm drops and he’s reaching … It’s fast.”
“I say with a louder, more intense voice ‘stop, stop, stop,’ and he didn’t,” she said. ‘And that’s when I took aim.”
Shelby argued that she “could very well be dead” suppose she waited to find out whether Crutcher had a gun.
“There’s something that we always say, ‘I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by six,'” she told Whitaker.
‘My brother is another hash tag’
The shooting death of Crutcher was amongst the many high-profile shootings of African-American men by police nationwide in recent years, plus that of Philando Castile in July in Minnesota. The police killings have sparked large protest which has given debate to the national conversation about race and policing.
What we know is that Crutcher was a hard-working Tulsa Community College student and the father of four girls, his family noted. Crutcher’s sister told Whitaker he was “laid back, calm, and cool.”
“Gospel music was his love,” she said.
“I saw Trayvon Martin. I saw Mike Brown. I saw Philando Castile. I saw Tamir Rice,” Tiffany Crutcher said. “But never in a thousand years … would we have thought that we would be on their side of it. And my brother now, according to social media, is another hash tag.”
Credits: CNN, stingged.com