The Justice Department is joining the investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American man in Tulsa.
The shooting occurred last Friday when two officers responded to 40-year-old Terence Crutcher’s SUV stalled in the middle of the road. Although Crutcher could be seen walking away from officers with his hands raised, the officers say Crutcher ignored their orders and reached into his pockets. One officer fired her gun at Crutcher, while another tased him.
Tulsa’s police chief promised a thorough investigation, but the department is also now reporting that a vial of PCP was found in Crutcher’s car. Officers allege the father of four was high on the hallucinatory narcotic. Attorneys for Crutcher’s family aren’t confirming or denying that claim, but they say evidence shows Crutcher’s shooting was unjust.
On Wednesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Marq Lewis, Organizer for We The People Oklahoma, talked with Roland Martin about the latest developments in the investigation.
Lewis said, “We actually feel like he was prejudged from the helicopter.”
According to the activist, the husband of Officer Betty Shelby – the Tulsa cop who fatally wounded Crutcher – was in the helicopter that hovered over the scene of the shooting.
Lewis reiterated, “They prejudged him from the very beginning” and said, “There’s no way she forgot to use her taser – she’s just making up a story.”
Martin, who struggled to understand Officer Shelby’s explanation for shooting the unarmed man, said, “There is a difference between a taser and a gun.” He then asked for Lewis’ assessment of the officer’s claims.
Lewis responded: “I think we have to call it what it is. It’s just racism. We’ve seen nothing but White cops at that scene. Officer Betty Shelby doesn’t even live in Tulsa. She stays about forty miles away … this is not even her area.
“We have to call it what it is. It’s just really implicit bias that we see upon police officers every time they go after people of color – they see them as a threat.”
Watch Roland Martin, Marq Lewis, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the latest developments in the police shooting of Terence Crutcher in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty