The president of the Tulsa, Okla., NAACP chapter has called the recent shooting of a gun-wielding black man by a white police officer evidence of a “shoot first and ask questions later” attitude within the police force.
The man, 21-year-old Terrance Walker, showed up at the Old Agency Baptist Church where his ex-girlfriend and other guests were attending a wedding, according to NewsOK.com.
WARNING: Video contains some graphic content
“He’s here with a gun,” Pastor A.H. Jones said on a 911 call. “I need a police officer because I got to stop this. I got a whole bunch of people here, and I don’t need nobody hurt.”
Officer Chansey McMillian showed up at the scene where he met Walker in the parking lot. The incident started off calmly as McMillian began to search Walker for weapons. The officer told Walker, who seemed tense, to relax just before Walker broke away.
The foot chase led down a rural street, where the video cam showed Walker drop something – apparently a gun – pick it up, then for a split second, take aim at the officer. Knowing Walker was armed, McMillian fired five times at Walker, who drops to the ground.
Muskogee police Sgt. Michael Mahan released the video to the public, in the name of transparency.
“We believe this will help lessen speculation in the community as to what took place,” Mahan said. “We want to explain to people exactly what happened.”
Jones, who witnessed the shooting, would not condemn the officer, according to the report.
“That’s a hard thing. The officer knew he had a weapon,” Jones said. When he turned toward the officer, no question the officer felt threatened. So each man has to make their own judgment.”
But Pleas Thompson, who heads the local NAACP, feels the officer could have avoided the shooting, according to KTUL.com.
“Police, as well as elected officials, have to be more sensitive that you know there is this mentality out there of ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ and I think emphasis should be placed on trying to take those people alive,” he said.
The video cam will play a large part to determine what exactly happened, and the widespread use of them could be a boon in helping the public understand what the police are confronted with on a daily basis.
“It is our belief that the video clearly shows the suspect pointing the gun at the officer,” Mahan said.
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