Homicide Sergeant Responds After Crutcher Family Calls For His Firing
On Thursday, Terrence Crutcher’s twin sister, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, called for Tulsa Police Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker’s termination and alleged there is corruption in the police department.
Walker testified in the Officer Betty Shelby manslaughter trial that he was “angry” and “disrespected” when charges were filed against Shelby without his knowledge or before his investigation was complete. He was called by Shelby’s defense team and said that he would not have recommended criminal charges if he was asked.
Shelby was acquitted Wednesday night.
Tulsa Police Sergeant Dave Walker responded to criticisms Thursday in a press conference.
Saying he is tired of getting kicked around and it is time to respond, he said that allegations of a cover-up are false, plain and simple.
Saying he agreed to the Crutcher Family’s demand for police reform, he stated that “we have to get better at dealing with drug addicted folks. So when those people are doing something bad, they call us. Mr. Crutcher is a PCP addict. The family knows that.”
The family of Terrence Crutcher did not mention drug reform in their comments.
“I will vehemently disagree that we covered up anything,” said Walker.
Crutcher’s family has alleged Walker and other homicide investigators gave Officer Betty Shelby special treatment in the wake of Crutcher’s shooting, allowing Shelby to review police video before she made her statement days later.
Walker said that department policy dictates that all officers involved in critical incidents be allowed to review police video. He said policy dictates his job, whether he agrees or not.
“We are the best at investigating homicides, whether it’s our own or not,” said Walker.
Questioned on whether Tulsa Police should be handling police shootings, Walker replied that if someone else wanted to show up in the middle of the night, then so be it. “Not one of us would put a big old fight if you want it,” Walker told reporters.
Regardless of who investigates, “it don’t change the facts,” he told to several reporters in front of the main station.
The lead homicide investigator for the Tulsa Police Department said the investigation should not be what the Crutcher family and others are attacking in this case.
“I said that night it was unwinnable,” said Walker. “Twelve to nothing, the DA got run ruled.”
Walker says despite tension with the district attorney’s office throughout the case, they will continue working together as there are still bad guys who need to be prosecuted.
KTUL reports that District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler released a statement shortly after Walker’s news conference, saying he has great respect for the work the homicide department does.
Today my office was informed of statements made by the family of Terence Crutcher and their attorneys that were attributed to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. While my prayers continue to be with the Crutcher family, I feel the need to set the record straight regarding issues they raised today:
1. I have great respect for the work of Sgt. Dave Walker. I have for many years and I still do. He has done an exemplary job for 35 years as a Tulsa police officer, and currently leads a homicide unit with one of the highest solve rates in the nation. Sgt. Walker and his team work tirelessly for our city and our community, and he is well qualified to continue in his present job. I adamantly disagree with any call for his resignation.
2. It is absolutely false to assert that the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office believes that there is corruption within the Tulsa Police Department. Throughout the trial, no representative of my office ever called the Tulsa Police Department or any of its officers “corrupt.” No representative of my office ever implied that anyone besides the Defendant had committed any illegal act.
3. During the recent trial of Officer Betty Shelby, all of the evidence that was proper for the jury to consider was presented in open court. The trial was covered by a number of local and national media outlets, and citizens were present in court on a daily basis to observe the proceedings.
We prosecuted this case as we do every other case – by pointing out discrepancies in the facts, testimony and investigation. Those issues are proper for a jury to consider in any case, and have nothing to do with my opinions about the Tulsa Police Department or its officers.