Dashcam video of unarmed Tulsa man getting shot has raised more questions than answers

[sharenow]

The Justice Department is now investigating the shooting death of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Video from 2 separate angles emerged this week of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher with his hands raised being engaged by police after his car broke down.

The videos showed police approaching Crutcher as he walked back towards his car when, suddenly, his hands came down and he appeared to reach for the car door, then him falling after being shot by one of the officers.

The man’s sister, Tiffany Crutcher, has demanded the officer who shot her brother be charged, CNN reported.

The attorney for Officer Betty Shelby said his client feared Crutcher was reaching for a weapon but an attorney for the Crutcher family said that argument is not plausible since Crutcher’s window was closed, according to CNN.

Shelby was the first to respond after a 911 call reported the car as abandoned and running in the middle of the street.

The officer engaged Crutcher, who her attorney said she believed was impaired.

Officer Shelby asked Crutcher if the car was his, to which he didn’t respond, and asked him to take his hands out of his pockets, her attorney Scott Wood told CNN.

“He does comply and puts his hands out of his pocket, and then puts his hands up in the air, which she thought was a little bit strange under the circumstances,” Wood said.

But he continued to ignore Shelby’s question and walked to the back of her car and again put his hands in his pockets, her attorney said.

At that point, believing he was impaired and intent on arresting him, she called dispatch, drew her gun and ordered him to his knees.

Rather than comply Crutcher began walking back towards his SUV.

The cameras, one from a police cruiser and one from a helicopter, show what happened next in a video Tulsa police Chief Chuck Jordan called “very disturbing and difficult to watch.”

An officer in the helicopter was heard saying Crutcher looked like a “bad dude” as he neared his driver’s side door.

Crutcher continued to walk back towards the vehicle with several officers, with guns drawn following him. He made the fatal mistake of reaching towards the car.

His sister said she believes because the officers thought he was a “bad dude” he now won’t finish college and get the degree for which he enrolled months ago.

Wood told CNN there is a lot more to what happened than what the videos showed.

“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. She thought that when she saw him,” Wood said.

“She was yelling at him to stop, for probably at least 10 to 15 seconds. He gets to the window of the SUV, and has his hands in the air, looks at them … and his left hand goes into the window,” he said.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing the Crutcher family, disputed that account.

“Why is an unarmed black man who has committed no crime, who only needed a helping hand, given bullets in his lung?” he asked.

“How could he be reaching into the car if the window is up and there’s blood on the glass?” Crump continued. “The window is up. There’s a streak of blood on the window. It’s coming down the car door.”

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Carmine Sabia

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