This case is not as blatant as many you believe it to be. I am not perfect and I definitely don’t know everything. I have discussed this with several black officers and the following is my opinion based on the information available at this time. My opinion could change if new information is released.
The family of Mr. Crutcher kept stating that Mr. Crutcher had car trouble. When the family speaks of him, it came off as if his car broke down, he flagged down an officer, asked for help and got shot. That is not what happened. When a family is grieving, they need something to make sense of the matter. When a cop pulls the trigger, they try to make sense of the matter too. We don’t know if he actually had car problems yet and I will explain why. We also know that he did not casually flag her down, she became threatened by his blackness, pulled her pistol and killed him.
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I have investigated organized crime cases for a long time. As a result of the knowledge I have gained from those cases, the first thing that caught my attention was the placement of Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle in the middle of the street. When people have car trouble, they typically turn on their hazard lights and make some attempt to pull over to the side of the road. You might see the stranded motorist looking in the trunk of the vehicle, under the hood, on the side of the road talking on the phone, walking to the closest business, or sitting inside of the vehicle. Every now and then, you might see a person whose vehicle stopped in the middle of the freeway and they made no effort to get over prior to the vehicle completely shutting off, but for the most part, some effort is made to get the car to the side of the road. Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle was not smoking or on fire. There were no immediate signs of car trouble with his vehicle.
As a detective, Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle did not appear to be a disabled vehicle. It appeared more like an abandoned vehicle. When people commit burglaries and robberies, they typically steal a vehicle so that they can commit their crime. After the crime is over, they drive the stolen vehicle away from the scene, get into their real vehicle and drive away. Many times when people commit these crimes, they leave the car running, they jump out of the vehicle without putting it in park, they let the vehicle crash into a wall and a long list of other methods of abandonment. Those people don’t care about the stolen vehicle. Their primary concern is to escape quickly. As a detective, I have seen this many times. No one is around the vehicle. Many times the vehicle hadn’t even been reported stolen yet. The way that Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle was parked diagonally across the yellow line made me think that the vehicle was “abandoned” as opposed to a stranded motorist because of my experience. This does not mean that Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle was not actually disabled. It is possible that his vehicle was disabled. I am just saying what my detective sense told me when I first saw the vehicle. Maybe he told his family he was having car trouble earlier in the day or maybe the family has some other reason to continue saying that his car broke down. I don’t know. I will be interested in hearing what becomes of his vehicle problems. I hate to be sexist, but I will. I have never had a man have car issues and jump out of his vehicle, after parking it diagonal in the middle of the street.
Two ladies, who both sounded black called 911 in regards to Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle.
1st 911 Caller
This lady will be very important to the officer’s defense. She called 911 and stated that there was an abandoned vehicle in the middle of the street, with the doors open, and THE VEHICLE WAS STILL RUNNING. Obviously a vehicle could be disabled and still running, but this is still important information. She called because the vehicle was blocking traffic from both directions. This is an obvious hazard so she called. She also said that a guy was “running from the vehicle and he stated that it was going to blow up!” She immediately followed that statement with “I think he was smoking something!” His behavior was bizarre to her. She didn’t mention seeing any smoke. She didn’t ask the dispatcher for the fire department. This dispatcher began to laugh because the situation sounded bizarre to her too. Then the woman said that she asked him if he needed help and he kept saying to her, “Come here! Come here!” She immediately said, “Oh nah. I’m out!” She stated that he took off running and she stated that she believed that he was smoking something again. She saw a huge dude, saying crazy things, behaving in a bizarre manner, determined that he was high, determined that she did not want to risk her own safety by helping him, and drove away all within a short period of time. She didn’t want to handle this guy so she called the police. This woman’s testimony will obviously be important for obvious reasons.
2nd 911 Caller
This woman wasn’t as thorough with her assessment. She stated that there was a car sitting “dead in the middle of the street.” She said that the car looked like someone jumped out and left it in the middle of the road. She stated that the door was open and it was on the yellow line. She stated that NOBODY WAS IN THE CAR and that it was blocking both lanes. This lady also believed that this situation was bizarre. It is important that SHE DID NOT SEE MR. CRUTCHER ANYWHERE. Again, when a vehicle is disabled, you will typically see the person close by or walking to get assistance. The stranded motorist could have also gotten a ride to a store for gas or whatever they may need as well. The reason I don’t believe that happened was because the caller said that the car was still running, the doors were wide open and a stranded motorist typically would not leave their vehicle in the position that he left his vehicle. They would also typically use their hazard lights. None of that was going on here.
Tulsa PD stated that the officer was on her way to another call when she drove upon Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle. Typically, if an officer is on their way to another call, they would not stop to assist a stranded motorist. Yes the citizen needs help, but so does the citizen who already called for service. I believe that if she saw Mr. Crutcher, she might roll the window down, tell the dispatcher to send another element to come assist him, ask Mr. Crutcher to move his vehicle to the side while he waits for assistance, and then continue going to her call. She did not do that because she did not see Mr. Crutcher near the vehicle. She told the dispatcher, “Start another unit because there is an abandoned vehicle in the middle of the road.”She could not continue on to her call because his vehicle was parked diagonal in the middle of the street, the door was probably open like the 911 callers stated, and she knew that she needed to at least move the vehicle out of the middle of the road before proceeding to her other business. I am speculating, but I feel pretty confident that she did not see Mr. Crutcher anywhere in sight because she told the dispatcher that she had an “abandoned vehicle” as opposed to a stranded motorist. There is nothing about that vehicle that would make me believe that this was a stranded motorist as opposed to an abandoned vehicle that was possibly used in a crime.
We have not seen the report stating what she did next. I am assuming that she got out of her vehicle to determine if the car was stolen or abandoned, see if she could locate an owner and prepare to move the vehicle out of the center of the road so that traffic could continue on both sides. I don’t believe she saw Mr. Crutcher or anyone else close by so that she could inquire about the vehicle.
As soon as I heard the 911 calls and watched the video of him walking away from the officers, the detective in me immediately believed that Mr. Crutcher was on PCP. There is no doubt about it in my cop mind. I look forward to hearing the autopsy report because I am willing to bet that they will find it in his system. After hearing the 911 calls and seeing his behavior, some things started to make more sense to me. If Mr. Crutcher was high on PCP, he may have actually believed that his vehicle was about to blow up. Many people on PCP believe that they have ants crawling all over them. Some of them take off their clothes in an effort to get the ants or other perceived pests off of them. Some of them run away at fast speeds for no reason. Some of them believe that people are trying to harm them. Some of them believe that they need to attack or hurt people for their safety. After hearing all of this, I don’t believe his car actually broke down. I think his PCP kicked in and he thought his vehicle was going to blow up. If any of us thought that, we would jump out of the vehicle in whatever state it was in at the time. That explains why he left his vehicle in the middle of the street parked diagonally. I have not heard anyone say why the family believes that his vehicle broke down. They may have just assumed that is what he was doing by seeing his car in the middle of the street. They may have some report showing that his car broke down. I don’t know. I am just stating what it seems like to me. What is more important is that the officer did not know that his vehicle broke down initially.
There is a picture being painted of a black man, who either called the police because he had car trouble or he flagged down an officer because he had car trouble, the officer got out of her car and pulled her pistol on him and it ended in his death mysteriously. That simply is not true. She did not know if he had car trouble and she may still not know if he had car trouble. The investigation of his car will be important as well. A huge man behaving in a bizarre manner approached her and she pulled her pistol because she had no clue what was going on, just like the 911 caller.
The 911 caller had the luxury of being able to drive off, the officer did not.
Her experience was telling her that something was strange about this vehicle being in the middle of the street. She did not see a stranded motorist in sight and her cop senses probably told her that something criminal was going on with whoever jumped out of the vehicle.
Have You Ever Fought Someone on PCP?
I have. The guy that I had a 3 minute boxing match with on PCP was about 5’7” /135 lbs. If you know anything about street fights, 3 minutes is an eternity if you are throwing blows the entire time, fighting for your life. When we first encountered him, my partner and I did not know he was on PCP. He was a small guy. My female partner and I fought dudes all the time. It wasn’t a big deal to us because she was a Marine and well, I am from Oak Cliff.
He was riding a bike and he was pumping his bike full speed for about ½ a mile before my partner jumped out and tackled him. I was driving so I had to make the block in order to help her. I made the wrong turn and she fought him for a couple minutes on her own, after sprinting after him for a couple blocks. When I circled back around, she had zero energy. I saw her barely moving, but still in pursuit. I asked her where he was and all she could do was point. I saw him still running FULL SPEED and I sped up to catch him. He was on foot and he was SPRINTING full speed. It was at this point that I realized, this dude is on PCP.
I didn’t need a doctor’s confirmation. When you deal with someone on PCP, you know it immediately.
I caught up to him in the vehicle. I am pissed. My partner never gets tired, but she was tired this day because he wasn’t human. I am fresh and ready to get it on. I jumped out of the car and we started fighting. I don’t hit like a girl at all. I don’t throw knees or elbows like a girl either. I am wearing this dude out with blows and he wasn’t even blinking. I even hit his man parts and this dude did not flinch. We are going full blast for 3 minutes and I am about to tap out. I sprayed him with OC Spray and he started drinking it. Most officers hate using the “party in a can” because it also affects the officer. I couldn’t see at all, but I could tell that he was drinking the spray. I didn’t have a taser, but I know that they don’t often work as well on people high on PCP. I heard my cover elements sirens in the distance. My asthma was on full blast, I couldn’t see, and I knew I was about to pass out pretty quickly. I saw an officer arrive in the distance. As soon as I screamed to tell them where I was, I fell out into the grass. Nothing felt better to me than my bed of crack pipes that I fell into. I was tapped completely out. It took 6 grown men to get that guy on the ground. He had a backpack full of crack and about 30 bottles of PCP. He was wanted for several burglaries and he had been wanted for a long time.
It was at that point that I knew that I would never box a man on PCP again.
The man I fought was small, but I thought I was fighting Goliath because of his PCP strength. I could not see. One hand was maintaining a grip on him. The other hand was blocking his punches. I could not get to my gun, but if I could have, game over! I went through the trouble of telling the “G” version of that story to say that any officer who suspects a person to be on PCP is not interested in fighting that person at all. Most of us have fought a guy on PCP or at least watched videos of them and it just isn’t acceptable. If I deal with a person of Mr. Crutcher’s size and see him acting in a bizarre manner, I promise I will not fight him. His size was a big factor. He was a huge man. His skin color wasn’t a factor. His size and behavior were a factor. Unless there is a recording that has her referencing his race as a slur, it isn’t fair to accuse her of anything racial.
The officer is investigating what she believes to be an abandoned vehicle when I believe Mr. Crutcher reappeared. She probably didn’t anticipate running into an individual. She probably thought the car was stolen or something. A man appears out of nowhere. If his behavior was consistent with what the 911 caller stated, I can totally see her pulling her gun on him. The officer begins to give him commands and he refuses to follow them.
There is a radio transmission by the officer in which she said, “Hold traffic. I got a subject who won’t show me his hands!” When any officer hears that, they come from far and wide because the potential for danger has just increased.
There is a gap between the officer’s last radio transmission and when the helicopter arrived on scene that none of us have any concrete evidence as to what happened. I have not seen concrete evidence that she had a body cam and didn’t use it or what the story is about that. She may have done that on purpose or maybe she didn’t (Editor’s Note: Sources indicate that TPD does not have body cameras). We don’t know and any opinions at this point are simply opinions. It will be interesting to hear what she says happened during this period.
What if he said nothing during this undocumented period?
What if he told her he was going to kill her as soon as he gets to his car?
What if he kept shouting bizarre things to her?
What if he told her that he was the leader of the free world and he was going to kill her when he got to his vehicle?
What if he thought she was an alien and kept telling her that the aliens are about to die?
What if he told her that he was Jesus and needed to sacrifice her for her own good?
We don’t know what crazy things he may have said to her to make her feel like there might be a weapon in his vehicle. He may not have said anything. Unfortunately, she was the only one there who is still alive. It is not fair to assume that she is lying or that she is telling the truth. We have to put as much information together as we have to come to the most logical conclusion. I am pretty confident that she gave him commands because she got on the radio and told the dispatcher that he was not following commands. I probably would not have been able to even do that because I would have been so focused on him. It says a lot about her that she was able to get that message out. I don’t think any officer believes that she was not giving him commands. I am assuming that she told him to stop several times and he refused to do so. He finally put his hand up, but he wouldn’t stop walking.
Hands up, but still walking equals non-compliance.
Many people have asked me “what else are we supposed to do because he had his hands up?” He had his hands up until he got to the car. The answer to that is stop walking. Partial compliance is non-compliance. I would have stood out there with him all day as long as I could see his hands.
The pilots in the helicopter are officers too. The have police instincts just like any other officer who has been on the street. Their instincts took over as they were watching this incident unfold. It sounded like there were 2 pilots in the helicopter. They are generally able to hear the dispatcher and other officers speaking on the radio. They are likely to have already heard that the subject was not following commands. They decided to head that direction. When they arrived they saw a huge guy, with his hands in the air, walking away from an officer who had their pistol pointed at him. If any officer sees that scenario, they would immediately start processing what could be wrong with this guy.
I point my pistol at people all the time because they pop up out of nowhere and approach me.
Sometimes they are suspects, sometimes they are good people and there has been a misunderstanding. After I point my gun at them, some of them get scared and freeze. I ask them to show me their hands and they do so. Then I ask them what they are doing. They are usually horrified. They usually explain that they didn’t mean to run up on me like that and then they explain their problem. If their problem makes sense, I would lower my gun and I would assist them. I might check them for weapons. I would immediately explain to them why I pointed my weapon at them and apologize for frightening them. Sometimes when that happens, the person responds with anger. They may curse me out and accuse me of being a rogue cop or something. In an angry manner, they explain why they ran up to me and explain their problem. If their story sounds logical, I would make sure they didn’t have any weapons on them, explain to them how the situation appeared from my perspective and we would move forward. Both of those responses are normal.
If I pull my pistol on someone and ask them to show me their hands and they don’t do it, my suspicions would increase instead of decrease. We do not know for sure, but it didn’t appear like Mr. Crutcher was trying to explain anything. We can’t confirm that with what we have available at this time. I imagine that this officer was giving him commands and he continued to act bizarre. Instead of de-escalation the situation by saying “hey my car broke down”, he finally put his hands up and continued to walk towards his vehicle. That is not a normal response. We don’t know what he said to her, but I am more inclined to believe that whatever he said wasn’t making much sense because the 911 caller corroborated his bizarre behavior. I believe that he could have told her that his car broke down and he needed help and she more than likely would have responded appropriately. Maybe she is crazy and didn’t want to hear that his car was disabled, but that doesn’t sound logical based on what we know at this point.
Pilot 1 said “I am going to turn the recorder on!” This didn’t look like a normal situation to him. As I just explained above, 90% of the time when an officer points a weapon at someone, the person stops and complies. She just stated on the radio that he didn’t comply. Now he finally put his hands up and he is walking away. I truly believe this dude is out of his mind on PCP and unable to follow commands, but that isn’t her problem nor does she know that for sure at this point. The pilot wasn’t trying to hide officer misconduct or anything. He made the conscious decision to turn the recorder on because he realized that this situation with this guy was headed in the wrong direction. Pilot 2 said “he is still not following commands.” Then the other veteran pilot officer said “It is time for taser I think!” He was exactly right. Most officers watching this scene were thinking the same thing. The cover officer had arrived and he clearly had his taser pointed at Mr. Crutcher. We will find out why he didn’t use his taser sooner, but I can’t really answer why he didn’t use it. I believe that he should have fired that taser as soon as he got out of his car. Again, it is easy to judge how another person reacts in certain situations, but all people respond differently. He will have to answer those questions as the investigation continues.
Many people take issue with the pilot’s word choice when he referred to Mr. Crutcher by saying, “he looks like a bad dude…he’s got to be on something!” As a citizen, I could understand someone taking issue with that. I can understand his family taking issue with that because they know the type of man he is the majority of the time. He did not make any reference to this man’s skin color. He did not use a racial slur. He was aware that he was flying over to assist with an individual who wasn’t compliant. He could visually see that the subject appeared to be huge. He observed the guy with his hands in the air, walking toward his vehicle and refusing to stop. He observed him doing all this with pistols pointed at him. Any officer watching that video was saying the same thing that the officer will say when her side of the story comes out, the same thing that both 911 callers stated and the same thing that I stated after watching the video and listening to the 911 call. THIS DUDE IS ON SOMETHING! It is not normal for someone to casually walk away from officers with their guns out. Officers can tell that this dude is on something and this is not going to end with simple compliance. The other pilot said the same thing that any other experienced officer was thinking, “it is taser time!”
I will try and explain “police talk” to the regular people reading this. For example, when an officer is not at the scene of a police shooting and they hear about one, the first question that they ask the officer telling the story is “was it a good shooting?” No person who has lost a loved one wants to hear an officer ask another officer that question. A citizen’s first thought is that the officers are considering the death of another person to be a “good” thing. Officers know that it is a short way of asking if the officer was justified in shooting the person. It does not mean that the officers celebrate the fact that a person is dead. As officers, we want to know if the officer is ok and if he was justified. We would never walk up to the family of a victim or random citizens and ask if a shooting was good. There is a different connotation for “good” among officers in reference to an officer involved shooting.
When he said he looks like a bad dude, he quickly followed it up with “He’s got to be on something!” He was addressing this dude’s bizarre behavior.
He did not call him a nigger.
He did not put black in front of bad dude.
He did not reference color.
I am very aware of the way that phrase can be used in reference to a group of people, but it makes sense to me and many other black officers. As officers, we have seen these incidents many times. It doesn’t take long for us to determine that something is wrong with a person and that a certain situation will not end in a typical manner.
Doctors probably have “doctor talk” as well. A doctor may ask another doctor “Is he dead yet?” In reference to a patient. They would never say that to that person’s family. They don’t mean any harm by asking that question. They are accustomed to dealing with people who die and for paperwork purposes or just curiosity, they want to know if the guy is dead, not to cause harm to family members. This pilot was simply stating that the situation didn’t feel right and this man’s behavior led him to believe that he was a bad dude. Bad Dude/ High Dude can pretty much be interchangeable in this circumstance. That is my opinion.
I haven’t spoken with a black officer yet who disagrees with this statement, but that isn’t to say that someone out there disagrees. It is not accurate to say things like “If a black man has car trouble and he asks for help, we look like ‘bad dudes’ to white people!” That is not a fair comment and it couldn’t be any further from the facts in this case.
Why did she shoot him?
In my mind, there are 2 reasons why she could have shot him.
She accidentally shot him because she heard someone fire a taser next to her. Many times when a person hears a taser or weapon fire next to them, their reflexes cause them to shoot whatever is in their hand at the time. Obviously this is problematic for her defense. One of the main gun safety rules taught to officers is that you are to “Keep your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard until you intend to fire!” This is why you do that. If you hear any noise with your finger on the trigger, a person is likely to fire. During taser training, many departments teach officers to verbally say “taser taser” prior to firing a taser. The reason that officers train this way is to give other officers notice that they are about to fire and it gives other officers time to process what is going on during high stress situations. It allows another officer who may be holding their gun to not react or jump because they can now anticipate the action. I don’t know if the guy who shot his taser said “taser taser.”
At the end of the day, the officer is responsible for any round fired from her gun regardless if the other officer said “taser taser” or not. If this officer accidentally killed Mr. Crutcher, that is obviously not acceptable. If this is the case, it has to be proven. If she shot her gun and then made a comment like “Damn. I didn’t mean to do that. Oops!” That supports this option. If the other officers say that they heard her make a comment that led them to believe that she had no intentions to fire her weapon, but did so on accident, she is wrong. If she screamed at the officer who fired his taser because she was mad that he didn’t tell her he was about to fire his taser, that would lead me to believe that she accidentally fired her weapon and was not in fear of her life.
Even if she did accidentally kill this man, nothing that has been released so far leads me to believe that race was a factor. If this is what happened, this would be a result of poor training, bad tactics or something of that nature. It does not bring any comfort to the family, but it isn’t fair to state that he was murdered for being black with car trouble.
This officer may have actually feared for her life. Many civilians have problems with the gray area surrounding when an officer fears for their life. For all of the people who keep saying he had his hands up the entire time, stop it.
He did not have his hands up the entire time.
If he would have kept his hands up and walked down the street from now until eternity, I would’ve been fine with that. I would not feel the need to shoot him because as bizarre as he was behaving, I would still be able to see his hands and no new elements would be introduced. The fact that he chose to walk to his vehicle created a new can of worms. I would not have allowed him to get in that vehicle. It is easy for me to say while sitting behind a computer, but my instincts probably would not have allowed that. Again, I believe taser man should have tased him immediately, but it didn’t happen. We can clearly see that Mr. Crutcher lowers his hands to pull on the door handle with his right hand. I am fine with that. I still have visual contact with his hand.
We Can Not Clearly See What He Is Doing With His Left Hand!
They will do everything to enhance that video, but at this point, we can’t tell what he is doing with that hand. It appears to me that he is reaching inside of the vehicle. We can’t tell if the window is up or down, but I think it is down and he is reaching inside. Maybe he was reaching inside with his left hand in an effort to unlock the door. Maybe he was reaching for a weapon to shoot the officers. We don’t know. We can all be pretty sure that the officer will say that the window was down and he was reaching inside the vehicle in a threatening manner. We can’t see.
We will see what the other officers say and make our best judgment, but we still don’t know for sure. The 911 callers stated that the door was wide open initially, but at this point it was closed. I wonder if the officer closed it after her initial check of the vehicle. I wonder if Mr. Crutcher came back and closed it throughout all the running around and etc. I wish the door was still open. If the door was still open, he may have sat down with his butt first as opposed to needed to reach in the vehicle. That scenario would make me more comfortable than him reaching inside the truck.
We Can’t Tell The Officer That She Dis Not Fear For Her Life With Him Reaching In That Vehicle!
As soon as she shot him, she got on the radio and said “Shots fired!” She did not hide the fact that she shot him. She didn’t run around with the rest of them and try to figure out why she shot. She broadcasted it. That doesn’t sound like a person who maliciously shot him because she wanted to kill someone. I have discussed this with many officers. Some say that they would have shot him. Some say that they would have tackled him. I probably would not have tackled him because it was clear to me that he was on PCP and we hadn’t searched him for weapons and we haven’t confirmed that no one else was inside of the vehicle.
Some officers stated that they would have ran back to their vehicles and took cover in case he had a weapon. If he pulled a pistol out of his car, the officers would probably be safe hiding behind the engine blocks of their vehicles. If he pulled out a rifle, not so much.
Would they have had time to make it to their vehicles before he pulled out any weapon?
Would they have been hit in the back before they got there? Who knows?
Some said they would let him drive away. What if he put the car in reverse and ran over the officers?
What if he drove forward and ran over other people down the road in an effort to escape whatever he thought was after him?
Keep in mind that Mr. Crutcher told the 1st 911 caller that he feared that his car was going to blow up. Again, that could have been true, but I think he was high and that is what the drugs were telling him. If he thought his car was going to blow up, why would he walk back to his car and try to get inside of it? That doesn’t make sense at all. That is evidence to me that he is high and irrational. We don’t know what Mr. Crutcher said to her between the time of the radio transmission and prior to the helicopter arriving on scene. We don’t know if he was reaching inside of the vehicle.
Many people say, it is his car, why can’t he reach into his own vehicle? When an officer arrives on scene, observes bizarre behavior, points her pistol at them and gives them commands to stop, you have to stop. Consider yourself detained until the officer can figure out what is going on. Many of you have been stranded on the side of the road and had assistance from an officer. Officers let people walk all over the place and let the people involved in the accident go in and out of their vehicle as they please.
Their behavior is typical and completely opposite of Mr. Crutcher.
He changed the game with his behavior.
I have had extensive conversations with several officers and many of them believe that she was justified. Some of them believe she wasn’t. Many of them jumped to conclusions without hearing any details and changed their answers once the heard other details. Police officers, who understand all of the stuff that I am explaining are having trouble agreeing with this situation. It is not cut and dry. If we can’t all agree while there are no immediate threats to us, how do you think she felt handling all of this in a matter of minutes? This is why we have a legal system and attorneys. It isn’t simple and obvious.When we watch basketball games, many people get into heated arguments about “charging” calls. Many may say it was clearly a charge while other say it was clearly a block. Most of us wait until the super slow-mo replay and then we have a more authoritative tone behind our opinion. The official had a “bang-bang” call to make. NO one cares about that. Everyone thinks their view is correct and blame the official for being human and not getting it right. Cops are human. If we ever got to the point of making robots answer calls, there would be no discretion and everyone would be in jail for every offense.
Some officers are dirty.
Some are jerks.
Some are racist.
Some make mistakes.
Majority of them are regular people trying to do an impossible job.
The use of deadly force is justified when the officer has “probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or others.” This test is judged by the perspective of a REASONABLE OFFICER (not citizen), not 20/20 vision of hindsight” (Graham v. Connor).If you remember anything as you analyze police shootings, you need to understand what I just typed. Google the court case and read the court’s findings. The determination of whether deadly force was justified is judged by a reasonable officer standard in the same circumstances. Google the court case that I listed and read it for yourself.
A PERSON DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FOUND WITH A WEAPON IN THEIR POSSESSION BEFORE AN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING IS JUSTIFIED.
Simply stating that an officer shot an unarmed man does not mean that the officer should be charged with murder. I always say that if we all stood in an open field and someone released vicious pit bulls in our direction, we would all respond differently. Some might assume the dog was friendly and try to pet it. Some may mace the dog. Some may run away. Some may try to talk to the dog and convince the dog to calm down. Some people would wait too late and get bit by the dog. Many may shoot the dog, but everyone would shoot at different times. The dog may give every indication that he is going to bite everyone’s nose off before he unexpectedly stops without explanation. This human variance is why the law will never have a black and white rule as to when an officer becomes fearful of their life and when they should be justified to shoot.
EVEN IF A SUSPECT ULTIMATELY FOUND TO BE UNARMED, A POLICE OFFICER CAN STILL EMPLOY DEADLY FORCE IF OBJECTIONABLY REASONABLE” (Loch v. City of Litchfield).
This statement was pulled directly from the FBI report in the Mike Brown investigation. Google the case and see for yourself. Don’t trust me. Don’t trust your facebook attorney. Don’t trust a real attorney. Look for yourself.
It is not accurate to continue to say that a man had car trouble, was viewed as a threat because he was black and then he was shot by police. It is not accurate to say that he did nothing to warrant the suspicion. It is not accurate to say that he was shot because he was black. It is not accurate to assume that race was a factor when they referenced him as a bad dude, but then totally disregard all of his behavior that lead them to make that statement in the first place.
Stop circulating stories about white people who shot at police and they survived to stand trial, but you have done no research because blacks have shot at the police, been shot with bean bags and lived to go to trial too. Stop circulating stories of whites who killed police officers and they were arrested without being killed because there are blacks who have killed officers who have also been arrested without being killed. Stop talking about the police officers who took Dylan Roof to Burger King after he murdered those black people at a church. Officers feed all suspects when they have been on the run for a long time and when they will spend a long time at the station. Contrary to what people think, we have to feed them if we don’t transport them to jail immediately. If your loved one was killed, wouldn’t you want the suspect to be comfortable so that he will talk to the detectives and give you and your family some closure? If we don’t feed them, many of them won’t explain themselves. I have taken criminals all over the city to eat wherever they want to eat in an effort to calm them down so that they will cooperate. A news camera catches them feeding Dylan Roof and everyone swears that he is getting special treatment. Stop circulating stories of terrorist who shoot at police, but they get arrested instead of killed. Some terrorist actually get killed and even more black men get arrested without being killed. Watching a video alone rarely provides all the answers to a situation. It did in the Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and the other young man who was shot by Chicago PD. Things are getting better and officers are more accountable, but we still have a long way to go. We have got to stop this and ask more questions if there is confusion. Black people repost articles of white people or officers that agree with their viewpoint and then all of their friends begin to circulate it. White people find a black person who agrees with their view that Kaepernick should not “disrespect” the flag by kneeling, then they circulate it to justify their beliefs. Everyone is doing the same thing to each other and complaining about it when the other side does it.
It is not okay to hate Kaepernick for his protest method, but refuse to address the issues that he is protesting. It is not okay to question if this woman feared for her life, but refuse to acknowledge Mr. Crutcher’s actions that lead them to point pistols at him in the first place.
If any of you read all of this and have a question, I encourage healthy dialogue. If you can’t be respectful of someone else’s opinion, I would prefer that you didn’t comment until you are able to do so respectfully. If you are an officer, especially a black officer, I encourage you to state that you are an officer and help with the dialogue. All of this is difficult for everyone. Racism is alive and well in the country and I deal with it every day. I believe that dialogue is a good thing. Officers call me stupid all the time for trying to help explain things to hurting people. I feel called to do so. I do not have all the answers and I don’t think my views are better than anyone else. I just try to be as
balanced as possible since I understand the frustrations of both sides.
If more info comes out, this opinion may change.
Chelsea Whitaker is a Dallas Area Police Officer and member of the 2005 Baylor Bear Basketball Team that won the National Championship. Her desire is to give others #perspective in order to #bridgethegap. She is a frequent contributor to Law Officer.