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Police Detective Puts the Tulsa Incident In Perspective

Police Detective Puts the Tulsa Incident In Perspective

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.

The Officer
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.

Speculation
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.

Speculation
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.

Problem Area
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.

Helicopter Arrives
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.

Pilot’s Comments
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.

1st Reason
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.

2nd Reason
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 Standard
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.

Accuracy
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.

About The Author

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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.

174 Comments

  1. D1Mind

    Oklahoma has a law against public intoxication. If Officer Shelby felt Mr Crutcher was high on PCP and therefore a threat to himself and others, then she had the right to arrest him. The point being that someone high on PCP is not expected to use logic and make right decisions when under the influence of a drug. Therefore as the officer on scene it is up to her and those providing backup to make the call under the terms of the law. And given Officer Shelby’s call for backup they had probable cause for an arrest due to public intoxication. And seein that he was high he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel anyway. But certainly, use of deadly force should be the last option unless provoked and at no time were these officers provoked or threatened. What SHOULD have happened is Mr Crutcher taken into custody, allowed to sleep off his high and his car towed off the road. Everything else is an excuse for bad judgement. Trying to turn this into some kind of ‘war zone’ scenario where cops are running around ducking for cover because some guy is high is nonsense. We don’t need cops running around trying to live out Vietnam/Afghanistan fantasies. Not responding to officers commands by itself does not constitute justification for deadly force.

  2. H Town Psych

    The windows were rolled up and the car doors where shut. When you make idiotic claims like “we can’t tell if the window was up” when it is clearly visible from the helicopter video and the dash cam, then you become completely non-credible. She lied. He did not reach into the vehicle because there was no means to reach into the vehicle. If you can’t even acknowledge that basic, provable fact then you have no business discussing the case. Trying to use the race card by claiming you talked to black detectives doesn’t change reality.

  3. LegalBeagle

    And, oddly enough, the tox results show he had PCP and some other substance (I don’t recall what right now) on board, consistent with the perceptions of the officer. As i said then, and it is even more clear now, the DA rushed to judgment based on ignorance and politics. There are some pretty serious ethical questions about his conduct, and probably a basis for a Bar Investigation and some pretty brutal discipline.

  4. JoSell

    Absolutely dead on. A crystal clear explanation of facts and evidence. What we know, what we don’t know, what it might or might not mean. Excellent critical examination. It is unfair to put our own perceptions and ideas into someone else’s story, because then it becomes OUR story, and no longer theirs. The officer’s story is her own, no matter if people can agree or even understand it.

  5. Roger Culver

    Thank you for your story. We had a little guy high on PCP once that put 4 of us in the hospital. I had a concussion and my partner had a big chunk bitten out of his hand. This guy was super human. PCP is a dangerous drug. We watched a video during a time when PCP was getting popular, of one in LA that beat the crap out of several officers even though he had been shot 14 times. Only thing that stopped him was a shotgun blast to the head.

  6. jpagee

    Excellent article. From the writing and content of the article, it is evident you are a good detective. I think I can make that judgment after 27 years on the job. Keep up the good work!

    I had not heard ANY information on 911 callers from any news story I’ve seen. That alone changes things as it documents one more witness to the man’s actions.

  7. nunyabis

    Very well written prospective. Officer Whitaker is a credit to professional law enforcement and a great ambassador for Baylor University!

  8. Lizabutt

    EXCELLENT article! Like you I had listened to all the 911 calls and watched all the raw video before forming my opinion.. Also watched the raw video of her on the ground behind the vehicle after the shooting. I’ve never ever seen another Officer so gripped with what had just occurred. Granted I think she should have shot him sooner for lack of following commands but that’s my opinion. I feel it was a justified shooting. It will be interesting to see if he really had PCP on board, after all it’s now known that he had that habit before.. funny how she would say that to the dispatcher then later find out she was right! I’m hoping and praying for this Officer to get a fair trial and not a political one. I was raised to respect the Police and do whatever they told you to do, follow commands and that is the way I raised my children. I think if more were raised this way we wouldn’t have all this mess! Thanks for your service Officer Whitaker!

  9. paul cuzz

    Officer Shelby AFAIK was not aware of the other 911 calls, she didnt mention it. The doors were not open in the video and she said she cleared the vehicle. Did she also close the doors? He wasnt violent like people on PCP are reported to be. he may have been hallucinating and obviously he wasnt compliant. But without knowing anything else its just as likely he was having a medical episode. There are a few cases where Diabetics have been treated harshly by cops who assume they are high. I tend to think she shot on accident when the taser was fired but she should never have had her firearm out when she did, that was on overeaction.

  10. Fire_and_Steel

    And please let us not have “TV experts” like Nancy Grace making any more comments like “How can he [one of the aero officers] tell from a helicopter that he ‘looks like a bad dude’?” [Quickly followed with “He’s got to be on something!”] Perhaps when Ms. Grace was a prosecutor, none of the defendants ever showed up for court high on anything. Maybe she has always been somehow shielded from ever having to see anyone under the influence of PCP, bath salts, or anything else.

  11. Tbear62

    I am from the Tulsa area and not a police officer but many things she touched on here- baffled me as well. The Officer in this instance, did disclose that she did a visual on the inside of the cab of the vehicle but took no notice of any thing in plain view. At the time- the windows and sun roof were open. Where I see when thing went wrong as the 2nd officer appearing just left and rear of her line of vision and in the video within seconds he discharged the stun gun on the subject and to my knowledge the female officer did not know he was present and I still think that it was knee jerk reaction to the sound of the taser going off and she either purposely pulled the trigger in response or it was in error. SO many things in the news up here are not openly discussed – facts that would make people think twice about what really happened but the local authorities, the family and the police and media – for some reason dont want it discussed.

  12. watchyatalkinabout

    Well done.. insightful analysis.

  13. Mark

    That was a very well written article by Officer Chelsea Whitaker. Thank You Chelsea.

  14. Pjw2748

    I am glad you wrote this article. I have issues with the officers car camera being off. We will never know what happened other than her own words, Mr. Crutcher is dead and can not defend himself. Also I realize all cops need to be safe of the job, but I had read an article where in the military there was a 5-7 step process before anyone would pull the trigger. Why can’t police departments using a similar standard? Maybe citizens need an education on what is alright when confronted by an officer and what is not. But to see you say that if someone approached you you would pull your gun on the citizen, that makes me wonder about your training. It makes me wonder if in a cops mind we are guilty until proven innocent. It should be the other way around. I don’t know about Dallas, but here in Tulsa we are short by about 1/2 for the number of cops we need. A friend just retired after 35 years on the job and never a bullet, thank God. He said they do not have the time to create relationships with neighborhoods they patrol because of the lack of staff. This is what the community that Mr. Crutcher died in wants.

  15. Pat Cremin

    This is an amazing treatment of this situation. I am a white Tulsan. My family is mixed, and I worry constantly about my three grand sons if they ever have a run in. Of course, there is more to the story than just a racist cop acting out. It is, however, still tragic. I am pleased that our Mayor, a friend, has stepped out front on the transparency. I am proud of the African American community and the peaceful and respectful protests. I pray that this entire matter is very transparent and all of us can live with the final result–whatever it turns out tobe. Your perspective is certainly asppreciated.

  16. Wilbert van Bakel

    Thank you very much for the time and effort you took to give us a glance of the point of view of the involved officer.

    My mind has changed over time concerning this incident with more information and perception coming available.

    This information helps me understand that simple answers only exist in theory.

  17. Cara Schulz

    If this is the normal thought process of police, I’m even more concerned than I was prior.

    • LegalBeagle

      Why? Because she has experienced things that are likely as foreign to you as making rocket fuel would be to me? Because she correctly expressed the analysis of potentially threatening behavior? Because she correctly expressed the legal, moral and tactical issues in using force?

      Cops (and ER staff, and CPS workers, and others who deal with pathology) see stuff that you would have a hard time believing. The mental health system in this country is a farce, so we deal with them in the system, knowing the whole time that there is no excuse for them being there. Some types of drugs contribute to really vile behavior. Some people are just evil. There are a heck of a lot of vulnerable people who have no resource but the police and other parts of the system. We do things because we have to do something to help, even though the things we do are not even close to our real job duties. It’s insane, but we do a lot duct taping, stapling, and other patching of society’s ills so that those vulnerable people are safe a little little longer. Get out of your sheltered existence and see what’s really going on.

  18. Denise Saylor

    Great article. It actually answers some of the questions I had. It also backs some of the things I was thinking. Thank you for your perspective. Stay safe out there.

  19. Marta N Michael Baker

    excellent job writing this. thank you.

  20. Odie

    I too thought exactly the same thing. When a car is dying or breaking down, most people try to steer it to the right off the road. Fir safety of themselves as well as passing vehicle. I too agree his compliance was not complete as he did not stop. I too believe he was reaching into his vehicle, God only ones for what or why. After reading this I now have an idea as to why she thought she needed to fire. Because the shot from the taser must have startled her, with his hand being inside his window; she probably wasn’t sure if he grabbed and fired a weapon. So now I guess my only question is, why the first shot isn’t to disable instead to a chest or head shot. I do realize what the influence of drugs have on people and how they can seem super human. So taking a knee or elbow may not stop or slow them down, but it should be the first try.

  21. Odie

    I too thought exactly the same thing. When a car is dying or breaking down, most people try to steer it to the right off the road. Fir safety of themselves as well as passing vehicle. I too agree his compliance was not complete as he did not stop. I too believe he was reaching into his vehicle, God only ones for what or why. After reading this I now have an idea as to why she thought she needed to fire. Because the shot from the taser must have startled her, with his hand being inside his window; she probably wasn’t sure if he grabbed and fired a weapon. So now I guess my only question is, why the first shot isn’t to disable instead to a chest or head shot. I do realize what the influence of drugs have on people and how they can seem super human. So taking a knee or elbow may not stop or slow them down, but it should be the first try.

  22. Elaine Plybon

    Thank you for your take on this. I am interested to know what your thoughts are about leaving him laying by the side of the road without rendering aid. That is the most troubling thing to me about many police shootings. I think time and information will help all of us to have more informed opinions and level-headed discourse such as what you are offering is valuable.

  23. Ken Owen

    Chelsea, thanks for writing this and sharing this perspective. It was good for me to read this to help me understand this situation.

  24. BlueKnight2009

    Everything you said is accurate. I need to add this to the analysis. Under Graham v. Conner the standard of review for a use of force by a government actor (because using force has been called a “seizure” so it is a Fourth Amendment issue) is a standard of objective reasonableness. The officer need only have a reasonable fear of great bodily injury, or death, or of being the victim of an atrocious felony. The articulated fear need not be real, just objectively reasonable when considered under the totality of the circumstances. The choice of force used to stop the reasonably perceived threat must be objectively reasonable when contrasted against the circumstances in their totality. Would a reasonable officer standing in her shoes with a similar level of training and experience have found it reasonable to use that level of force? Finally, an officer may use only that level and amount of force necessary to stop the threat and no more. So, did she reasonably perceive a threat of GBI or death? Would another officer have used deadly force in that situation? Did she use only as much force as was necessary, immediately, to stop the threat she perceived? If the answers to all those three questions is yes, you have a valid case of self defense. If not, it’s imperfect self defense and a manslaughter charge could lie. We won’t know until all of the evidence is in.

  25. Barbara Ellen Barr Young

    Thank you for writing this. I learned a lot. I had not made any assumptions one way or another, but you helped me realize that my decision not to make a decision at this time was the right one. Thanks!

  26. RPG

    After 30 years of LE, I came to exactly the same conclusion when I discussed this after it happened.

  27. SAA

    Oddly enough it was finally reported on the local news here in Tulsa that the transmission had went out of the suv. Another odd fact those who don’t live in Tulsa know is the chopper pilot was the husband of the Officer charged with manslaughter. Imagine his thoughts when he realized who it was on the ground. He also wasn’t the one that made the comment about one bad dude, as that was the co-pilot. We in Tulsa wish so much every outsider would stop acting as a expert on this and let this city heal as tensions are frightening here at the moment. Have some faith in the justice system as what happened will come out as the court case moves on.

  28. Andrea

    Thank you for your diligence to help civilians interpret the actions and lingo of police officers
    This has been the most intelligent conversation on this entire scenario and I will be curious to hear the outcome of the autopsy as well as other explanations of things still not understood.
    I do admire what you are trying to do and that is give an objective explanation of a tragic incidence.
    Again thank you.

  29. Policemom

    Thank you so much for being the voice of reason, finally! You describe this event very logically and methodically and is the one perspective that makes total sense. I’m sharing this every time I get the chance and I have had people tell me they are so glad I sent it because they have struggled in their mind to make sense of the situation.

  30. Sotonohito

    And yet, cops kill black people at a vastly higher rate than they kill white people.

    So yeah, explain away how it’s totally justified, but you’re still wrong, and an innocent man is still dead, and the cop who murdered him will doubtless be given a medal or something.

    If you think there isn’t a problem, you’re part of the problem.

    • Mark W. Posey

      I’m guessing that you are making these comments based on what you are feeling vs facts.

      1. Washington Post – Police killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black.
      2. The Wall Street Journal, 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.
      3. According to the Justice Department – Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers.

      Also, your comment about him being an innocent man? Where are you coming up with justification in making that comment? If he was an innocent man, why would he not comply with the officers commands?

      Based upon your comments, YOU are the problem.

      • Sotonohito

        Rates vs. absolute numbers are the simple mathematical concept you’re missing here. Black people account for fewer victims of police murder in absolute terms, but when compared to their percentage of the population it’s clear the cops are eager kill black people.

        “If he was an innocent man, why would he not comply with the officers commands?”

        Because he was confused? Because he was panicking? Damn if I know. I do know that in this case they didn’t give him a chance, like they don’t in a lot of cases. Because he couldn’t because they were screaming conflicting orders at him? It was literally impossible for him to comply with all the orders the cops were shouting, as it would have required that he stop, go, lie down, stand up, have his hands up, and put his hands down, all at the same time. Which particular order should he have obeyed, in the heat of the moment with many armed murderous cops pointing guns at him and screaming?

        Further, we know that cops murder black men even if they do obey. Did you already forget Philando Castile?

        With white people, they give a **LOT** of chances. Like this guy, just yesterday, who they arrested after a six hour standoff. http://kdvr.com/2016/09/09/man-arrested-after-6-hour-standoff-in-boulder/

        They couldn’t give the black guy even five minutes to submit, nope gotta murder him the very instant he twitches in a way they disapprove of. White dude shooting at cops? Oh well, he probably had a bad day, give him more time.

        And I’m not saying that what the cops did in Colorado was wrong. I’m glad they gave that guy a chance and took him alive. What I’m upset about is that black people don’t get that kind of treatment.

        Cops see a black guy, they murder him. Remember Tamir Rice? The kid with a toy gun? The kid the cops simply pulled up, didn’t say one word to, and shot?

        In a world where that happens, the cops don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

        I do know that in a free nation “not complying with police orders” is not a crime that merits the death penalty, with the cops as judge, jury, and executioner.

        I also know that cops plant evidence. Remember when the cop who murdered Walter Scott was caught on video planting a tazer next to his body? Remember how **EVERY SINGLE COP** on the scene let him get away with it, how **EVERY SINGLE COP** on the scene lied in their official reports and claimed Scott was trying to grab a tazer? Yeah. Remember how not one single cop, despite being proven by video to have lied in their reports, lost their job over that?

        Did the cops plant the gun in this case? I don’t know, but I’m not even slightly going to just take their word for it.

        And, I do know that the cops are too triggerhappy. In other countries cops don’t murder people all the time. That only happens in third world dictatorships and the USA.

        So sure, you want to be a petty little authoritarian and claim that failure to instantly comply with the conflicting orders being screamed at you by armed lunatics is grounds for summary execution, well I think you should move. Because that’s not what America is about.

        • LegalBeagle

          What you are referring to as “police murder” isn’t. And FWIW, while the rate of black men killed by LE is in fact higher than the rate of white men, the demographics of people killed by LE closely match the demographics of the known murderers of cops. Your argument, while better than relying on pure numbers, is also flawed.

          There is a huge difference between a standoff in which people are not at immediate risk and a face to face scenario in which time is of the essence – portions of a second can make a life or death difference.

  31. Mark W. Posey

    Thank you Officer Whitaker. 1st for your service. Very special thanks to your family. 2nd, thank you for the great insight from a young black, female Police Officer. You made a comment that I agree with with all my heart. Being a police officer is an Impossible Job. So, once again, Thank you and your family for taking this impossible job. Praying for you and every officer. GOD Bless.

  32. LegalBeagle

    Just freaking excellent. The Discourse about LE and use of force is just awful, and you have done a great job in trying to spread light instead of heat. We need more of this kind of effort, and command officers need to be following your example instead of taking the coward’s path as they so often do.

  33. Andrew R

    Thanks for your unique police perspective and your Service. We have a rule by the mob mentality vice waiting for the legal system to review the case before jumping to conclusions. In a majority of the cases no conviction was received because our initial perception did not match up to events, facts, and evidence during the actual cases. Most of these cases would not end in loss of life if we just respect the authority that came with the badge. When a police gives an order you follow it. Until we learn that lesson we will continue to have the same sens-less outcomes and blame everyone around us. In most instances the situation has nothing to do with race, but we some how end up there…and when we have a black on black incident then we blame police brutality. We as a society need to learn to respect the law and Police…and accept the outcome whenever we decide to violate that trust. Police go out each day and put their lives in harms way to protect civilians….at least in the military you know what to expect and who your enemies are. Lets work together to respect the law and the senseless loss of life will significantly diminish.

  34. Terre Gates

    A very dispassionate and objective look at what we know right now. Thank you for the work you do every day, and how refreshing to have logic and wisdom, instead of emotion and knee jerk reactions being used in this highly charged topic.

  35. Tolonda Thomas

    I appreciate this so much! Thank you for taking the time to put into words those things that are hard to say &/or understand by us civilians. I do think there is racicism in our nation but I have a hard time with those that use it as any reason for every perceived injustice they encounter. Much of what you said I have pondered on since the video has come to light, but very few facts. All we’re left with is much speculation but I agree with many of the ideas & scenarios you’ve presented. Again, thank you for the effort & insight you have put into this article. And of course, thank you For your service & may God keep you safe.

    • rwcoxvpi

      This image is captured 1 minute 35 seconds after Office Turnbough’s vehicle begins to roll in response to Officer Shelby’s back-up call.

  36. rwcoxvpi

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d61220bcd6814605cf81f381adabaf4d1ec3b7209e99d43d6cd196d92b987b0e.jpg

    Justice
    should be blind. I think that she encountered the vehicle blocking the
    road, turned on her warning lights for traffic control, called in the
    license number, checked out the driver’s seat and the Mr. Crutcher
    approached her. She moved from the left
    front side of Mr. Crutcher’s vehicle to the right rear of her police
    car. He is first photographed by the helicopter camera standing near the
    right front fender of the police car. His hands are up and he is facing
    away from her. Was she holding a gun on him? Probably, but when did she
    take it out of her holster? When she checked out the vehicle or when
    Mr. Crutcher appeared? Or when he was not able to answer her questions
    or follow her instructions. She probably had the gun out before Mr.
    Crutcher made himself known. But in any event she got scared and called
    for back-up and by the time the back-up arrives and takes the first
    clear picture, she is less than a car length away from him with her gun
    aimed at his back and he is walking away back to his vehicle with his
    hands up.
    Black
    or white, white or black — doesn’t seem to make any difference in
    this specific case. And here, this situation only, “it’s not about
    race.”

  37. Peter Scalone

    Great article Detective. I know all about having to have 10 officers to bring someone down on PCP. All of my former boxing experience made no difference. It took 10 of us officers to detain a 5 foot 7 150 pound man on PCP.

  38. SoonerfanTU

    That is a 100% accurate description of how I feel about the situation.

  39. Nancy Davenport Ganiko

    Excellent!!!! I wish this could be read everywhere. God bless you. Praying that He will comfort everyone involved and bring peace to the situation.

  40. Hardy-Stephens Deborah

    Thank you Officer Whitaker! Your education, training, and insight has given me a different perspective. It has helped me to open my eyes a little bit more. I did not understand the effects of PCP and I am not familiar with the laws of when to employ deadly force. Initially, I was siding more with the family. I hate to see injustice of any kind and I know racism still exists in so many ways. This article helped me to better understand that the best way I can help is to try and understand all sides of the story before making any type of judgement.

  41. Karen Dillon Gaylor

    Chelsea, you have reinforced what I was told “off the record” in that the officer who fired the taser was suppose to indentify he was going to fire. I was told he did not and that she fired her weapon because she thought Mr. Crutcher fired a weapon.

    I think you are spot on with everything you said. Does that mean she was completely innocent? No but it gives insight to what happened.

  42. Zachary Hadden

    I came to the same assessment as you and also questioned why wasn’t the taser used sooner. Knowing there were two other officers immediately arriving on scene would have given some reserve. She had to clearly feel threatened. But the taser could have startled her as well. One of the questions besides whether toxicology showing whether he was on PCP or not, but also, could the taser have triggered a heart attack vs having a bullet passing through his heart.
    One other thing is once radio emergency is called by dispatch, not just the entire division, but the entire city is listening in on the call, not to mention news media and anyone else on scanner. Most officers dread this but it’s necessary to provide back up and assistance in case it goes to a car chase and crosses into another jurisdiction. In the heat of the moment, there is a lot going on in an officers mind knowing she is on emergency status. Most officers are used to it. People should also realize, the Tulsa PD takes 20,000+ calls per day on average with 1/2 hitting the North side division, most of them happen within an 8 square mile area. The rest of Tulsa PD services around 50 square miles. This doesn’t include traffic stops. I’ve dispatched for North side before and can tell you, there is not a day that went by I was not in radio emergency status. Sometimes twice per shift. The rest of Tulsa might have one emergency status a week. Most have no idea the pressure a dispatcher is under because not only do they provide tactical details, but they get their backups to them as they are crossing backyards, hopping fences, running down alleys and you have to get their help to them. Knowing you are being listened to by 150 other officers. You have to maintain a calm radio tone while officers are screaming and can barely breath through their mics, much less tell you their location. No worse feeling is you failed an officer because you didn’t pick up a cross street and their help is a block away. No officers died on my watch, but that was an ever present fear. I know dispatchers who were the last person to hear an officer’s voice. You never forget. But if Officer Shelby felt intimidated, didn’t call for backup or backup didn’t notify her of their arrival or eta, any of these aspects could have contributed to her decision to fire her weapon. If I was in her shoes and knew help was a half minute away, I might have moved back from the situation and not shot unless the physical threat was evident. Many things to consider. Thanks for your perspective and wish all our officers a safe and good weekend!

  43. minute-man

    excellent article….extremely TRUTHFUL !

  44. Katy Mitchell

    Thank you for your comments. As a resident of Tulsa County, I am hearing much about the shooting, and the vilification of Officer Shelby. Of course, we have not heard her side of it, though her attorney is trying to share some of her thoughts. I feel that to appease the national media and to prevent the rioting as occurred in Charlotte, our DA moved to charge her quickly. Your words help to show that it is possible that she did, in fact, reasonably felt in fear of her life and others around her. And thank you for your service in a career not always appreciated.

  45. Jim Simpson

    Very well written. Thank you.

  46. Beverly Cleveland Shields

    In my opinion, it is not only dangerous, but irresponsible of you, a LEO who is supposed to deal in facts, to post an account of this shooting based on “speculation”. Everyone has an opinion on this case, and many people are interpreting what they have seen, none are LEO to my knowledge, but you as a LEO should know better than to give an account based “speculation.” It is obvious your account is biased and I think it sends the wrong message to those who already mistrust LE.

    • LegalBeagle

      Shame on you. This officer is trying to explain the realities of the legal standards and the experiences of law enforcement officers who see this kind of stuff on a regular basis. One of the most frustrating things I have found as a cop and prosecutor (been both) is fundamentally decent people who have not had real exposure to pathology. There are some really horrible people out there. There are people who do dumb things. There are people whose actions are mixed. The appearances they create are often indistinguishable, especially when portions of a second may be the difference between life and death.

      What I read is not a biased article, but a well written and well considered explanation of the types of things that are apparent to the people who have been there and done that by someone who knows of these things.

    • Law Officer

      You are wrong. If a citizen, that knows nothing about law enforcement, can discuss an incident, a veteran police officer with years of experience can do the same. Just because someone wears a badge does not silence them and to say they are automatically biased based on their uniform is no different than you saying a black, white, or hispanic is biased because of their skin color.

  47. YouDon'tKnowMe

    Thank you for letting us see with your eyes. God bless your service. Be safe.

  48. Arthur Tenbear

    You covered as many “what if’s” as everyone else has. PCP-??? apparently in your infamous career you haven’t crossed with a diabetic with low sugar. ( They act a crazy as well. And surprise! Not all men are mechanical inclined as you inferred. Seem like this was just another cop trying to justify another cops bad judgment. And that’s what makes people not trust ANY cops. Sad.

    • LegalBeagle

      Guess what: the causation of unsound and apparently dangerous behavior is not relevant. It is not possible to tell what the problem is when someone is acting like a violent dangerous person – alcohol or other drugs, mental health, low BG – whatever. As a diabetic (well controlled, but type 2 none the less), I am responsible for knowing my body and addressing low BG.

      Your attack on this officer for telling you things you don’t want to hear is unjustified.

      • Arthur Tenbear

        Attack??? Nay wee one. Simply my opinion . Sorry if it doesn’t align with yours. But I wasn’t there, you weren’t there and wow she wasn’t there. All just guessing what could of happened. Each trying to point finger at any one but ourselves. Team A v/s Team B. Bottom line- wrong is wrong! My Brother is a 26 year Police Lt. I worry and pray every shift he works. Am I pro L/E? No. Am I Black Lives Matter? Nope. Just a guy who feel wrong is wrong and not have a bunch of excuses for actions

        • LegalBeagle

          (Wee one? I’m old and at the upper end of W/M size. That’s funny.) The issue here is that Detective Whitaker is actually qualified to opine. She has experienced suspects who behavior is like Crutcher’s; she took time to go through and analyze what can be discerned about the underlying facts and circumstances known to the officer from the 911 calls and things that the officer could observe, and she took time to watch the video in slo-mo and really look at it. She writes well, and communicates the issues thoroughly. Your response looks like an attack on her assessment of this incident.

          She also acknowledges that later discovered information could change her views, and that no matter what, we are still responsible for every round that goes downrange. It is still possible that there was an error on the part of the officer that will allow for a manslaughter charge, as both she and I acknowledge. I’ve been a lawyer for almost 30 years; a (full time) prosecutor and (part-time) cop (did my academy after law school) in two states; and I research, write, and teach on legal issues in search and seizure and use of force (which is a subset of seizures under the 4th amendment). I find her analysis to be quite thorough, and her explanation of it excellent.

          This is a pleasant contrast to the drivel from the Terrorists, Anarchists, and Narcissists who have been driving the discourse, and the irresponsible media dullards (accomplices?) who repeat that stuff without bothering to do any analysis at all. American LE uses lethal force a tiny amount of the time compared to the number of times it would be justified, and overwhelmingly correctly. The image created by the kooks and moonbats is neither true nor responsible, but is driving the discourse and we will all pay for that. I suspect that the decision to charge was driven by emotion not law, as happened in Baltimore.

    • Law Officer

      Have you seriously just compared low sugar to PCP? So you have experience with both?

      • Arthur Tenbear

        Both no. I’m diabetic. Was dragged from my truck, slammed to the ground, cuffed, taken to County jail. And booked for under the influence. County EMT checked my sugar found it at 57. ( That referred to as hypoglycemia.) So yes. I know that side of it. Now, maybe you can share your story on PCP and it’s effects.

  49. Bob

    Thank you Police Officer Whitaker for your service. Iam a retired Police Officer myself and each day I feel the pain Police Officers suffer for protecting our citizens. I don’t know what has happened to our society and can only pray for our brothers and sisters to make it safely home to their families after their shift. This is what motivated me to read your article, because I got to be honest you are a long winded writer. Most Police Officers would have stopped reading after the first few paragraphs, but I kept reading. I thought your writing was very interesting, without biased, but factual and a real professional insight with explanation to all readers. Thanks for the simple explanation for something that is so complex. Be safe.

  50. dudesomejust

    A good question is why she didn’t first aim for one of his legs, to avoid a lethal shot? Having another officer next to her should have relaxed her somewhat. On the other hand, there was probably no way to determine if he had a fully automatic rife and could have made mincemeat of both of them, wounded or not. I sorry for all involved.

    • Ronald Green

      Do you do much shooting? Do you not know how difficult it is for the average shooter to “place” a shoot in a “non-lethal” spot. Actually, there is no such spot because if a bullet cuts an artery, the victim may well bleed out and die anyway. And no, the police are not expert marksmen. most of them get range time twice a year. They are at best, average shooters.

    • Katrina

      When they need to shoot, they shoot to stop the threat. As far as avoiding a lethal shot, the leg (femoral artery) can still be very lethal. Television and movies show all manner of remarkable marksmanship — shooting guns out of someone’s hand, etc. Even if they spent an hour of every shift at the range, real life doesn’t present the opportunity or time for such feats. I pray for all involved. He had family who loved him, she has to live with taking the life of another human. Sad all around.

  51. John MacEnulty

    That was one of the most clear, and thorough analysis I’ve ever seen of a recent event. You have the sort of information in your article that every single newspaper should have.

  52. Patrick Downs

    Superb essay … should be mandatory reading for everyone.

  53. ROBERT

    I have a problem with placement of the vehicle. Anytime I have had car trouble if not able to get off the road I put it as far to the side as possible. Then you have all the mess in Charlotte & it may have influenced the DA to press charges against the officer as tensions were rising across the country! I think the DA jumped too soon placing charges before a complete investigation had been done.There is the possibility of info we are not getting yet as a result of an ongoing investigation! Still too many unanswered questions for me to convict the officer!

    • Sam Leeback

      The quick charge was dictated by growing publicity and unrest. Recall Charlotte was going on at the time.

  54. usaok59

    Thank you for posting this. Please stay safe, we need all the good people in this world.

  55. ahaz

    I read a whole lot of excuses for this detective, no of which had any bearing on the fact, that seemed no reason to have unhip steered her firearm let alone shoot this man, WHO HAD HIS HANDS UP!! Clearly another incident that reinforces the Hands up Don’t shoot narrative, especially if you’re African American.

    • sbozich

      1. She wasn’t a detective.
      2. “no of which had any bearing on the fact, that seemed no reason to have unhip steered her firearm let alone shoot this man” <—that's not even a remotely complete sentence.
      3. *you're

    • sbozich

      The fact that you are incapable to responding to reasoned arguments doesn’t make them invalid.

  56. origwwotp

    Love your reasoned and logically laid out perspective. Very well written, this hits the points and the crux of the matter, with your heart-felt passion evident. And yes, PCP is the WORST thing to come out of the 70s. Enjoyed watching you as an athlete, proud to have you as a LEO. You are a FANTASTIC role model and writer as well!

  57. sbozich

    Regardless of whether the shoot was good or not, what is your opinion on the fact that first aid was not rendered for as long as two minutes after the shooting?

    • Bk

      That isn’t true. An officer was beside him, putting on gloves and checking pulse within 20 something seconds.

      • sbozich

        Then multiple reports that I have read were wrong. What is your source?

        • Bk

          I watched the videos and timed it.

  58. ButtercupKelley

    Excellent article…. Thank you. I will be passing it on to some friends who are not in law enforcement. I tried to explain some of these points to them, but, well, I’m white, so they think I’m either just biased, making it up, making excuses for a white cop,…. or all of the above.

  59. Trish

    Thank you so much for giving us your take on this, because I had come to mostly the same conclusions. I’ve never seen PCP, witness anyone on PCP in real life, but my father was a cop for 22 years and he did witness it, several times in fact. He saw exactly what you said. He fought people on PCP and it was like they had super powers. My question is, why were both doors open on the vehicle? Was it in fact, his vehicle? Have the Tox Screen results come back and will they be releasing them to the public?
    Thanks again for your analogy on this.

  60. MeanGENE

    Thank you for this piece Det. Whitaker. I greatly appreciate your dedication, service & enlightened views… & not because you are a woman or a person of color, but admittedly, considering your unique perspective of your opinions, that certainly makes them more refreshing & valuable to me.
    In my opinion, the only responsible answer any self-respecting American should utter when posed the question if this tragedy was justified or not, should be… HOW THE HECK SHOULD I KNOW?
    As a Mechanical Engineer, I am trained to problem solve, analyze parameters, obtain data & refrain from guessing. As you so clearly delineate, the problem, parameters & data (or in legal lingo, the circumstances, facts & evidence) from this situation have yet to be officially meted out, let alone publicized. So, I know next to nothing about what transpired than fateful night, NOR DOES ANYONE, except Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Shelby & her back-up “Taser” LEO. So, apart from those two LEOs, the final answer can only be, I don’t know. I find it a shame 99 out of 100 comments & opinions voiced on the internet by my fellow Americans regarding this very complex topic are hopelessly premature & woefully ignorant. Very rarely do humans display the cognitive dexterity & were-with-all to express opinions on such a complex situation & unknown entity in proper context. Because without the context, the best opinion is one reserved & cautious one. Unfortunately a shameful amount of people are not capable of wrapping their minds around that fundamental concept.
    And the tail wagging these dogs is aka: America’s sensationalist corporate-media, in the way they irresponsibly narrate, with such contrived & confabulated conviction, wholly UNKNOWABLE situations. With the rise of anti-social media these soulless corporations, along with public personalities like Col*n Cap, Be’once, ME-gan, latch onto, & seemingly prey upon pathological social fear, with the sole intent of exploiting the very [supposedly] “systemically oppressed minorities” they claim to represent. For me, this exploitation process first became crystal clear in the hours after the Ferguson MO incident, & we all know how that turned out. And it has only become more & more predictable in proceeding years, with each passing event, where corporate-media sensationalists publicize a fictional script that vilifies HERO public servants & hero-worships felonious martyrs …PROIR to any facts or evidence being known. Tragically, but interestingly, other organizations that similarly prey on pathological fear are quickly & summarily classified as TERRORISTS. Now-a-days, I can easily equate our media to a new, but legal form of terrorism, since media seems to have borrowed much of that playbook. The only difference being corporations do it in the name of mass exploitation, avarice & gluttony, where-as true terrorists are at the opposite end of the spectrum & operate out of extreme ethical/moral ideology. I will leave it you, or whomever, to make up your own mind as to which is worse. Regardless, I observe it as extremely disheartening, because, as with recent events, it is no more clear anywhere in America than in Dallas & my home state of NY, it tearing our country to bits. Point being, as you, most civil servants & respectable responsible citizens know full well, our justice system, takes it’s own sweet time. Circumstances, facts & evidence take months, if not years or decades to be properly expressed to the public & media, if ever. Where the FALSE expectation that facts & evidence should instantaneously be publicized on anti-social media came from I don’t know. But it’s abundantly clear that absence of information does not stop humans from making **it up.
    Btw, I did my bit (USAF Desert Storm) to protect & defend the rights protesters are endowed with. So, I certainty respect the rights of protesters, & the likes of Col*n Cap, Bey-once, ME-gan or whomever to sit, kneel or march on whatever cause the “flavor of the day” is. No doubt & I’m happy for them & all the rights all Americans have. But I don’t think anyone is questioning their “right” to do that. I, for one, vigorously question the cause. WHAT IS THE CAUSE? Where is this supposed systemic oppression? I, for one, don’t see it. I’ll will acknowledge it has occurred EXTENSIVELY in the past. But that is history now, isn’t it? I see plenty of it in other countries now, but these are protests of OUR FLAG & ANTHEM. Where in AMERICAN is this oppression NOW? Again, I don’t see it. I have nothing but the greatest appreciation for all veterans & public servants dedicated to the betterment of communities from coast to coast. Are their occasional bad apples, accidents & mistakes? You bet your bippy! But with literally BILLIONS of interactions with citizens a per year, we have only a hand full that result in LEOs being convicted of wrong doing. Within the confines of an impossible, selfless & often times thankless job, I see the best trained, most educated & flat out greatest law enforcement & justice system on the Planet. So, Anthem snubs get my Irish-up! But I will express my distain cogently & somewhat respectfully, when I ask, since when is the social commentary of a reverse-racist, multi-millionaire, who will likely go on to sell the most jerseys of any 2nd string QB in NFL history, who was most likely complicit in at least one, & probably more than one rape …valuable to anyone? Mind you, one of the hardest considerations this millionaire encounters in sitting thru the Anthem, to protest “white oppression”, is making sure he sits on the dark half of his butt.
    In closing, & hopefully in a righteous display of properly formulating an under-informed opinion. it seems you composed this prior to some of the most current pics & perhaps prior to the dash cam going public. From the little I can see from the chopper videos, & from the enhanced enlargement of the van driver side window from the chopper vid, the window appears to be completely UP. Regardless, given the low dusk lighting & LEO Shelby’s (rear end) point of view, I think it questionable if she had perspective to see if the window was up, cracked, or down. So, I believe the window a moot aspect as it pertains to use of force in the few seconds the window/door reach might have been a consideration for her. As you stated, she had not patted him down. So, he was still under “reasonable” suspicion of carrying a concealed device OR accessing one as he is reached for the van door & he did indeed appear to reach for the door. But then, from the dash cam of the back up “Taser” LEO, more of the critical timing of the events appear to become evident. As LEO Shelby is aiming her pistol at him & shouting commands, while he is nearing his van’s door, the back-up LEO sprints to her left shoulder from behind. He has his Taser up & aimed at Mr. Crutcher’s torso. The distinct bright RED glow of the Taser’s “laser” sight can clearly be seen in the low dust lighting environment lighting up Mr. Crutcher’s right ribs area. This, with little doubt, would have been visible to LEO Shelby. So, it would seem as though, if & when the Taser was deployed are critical unknowns that will likely determine LEO Shelby’s immediate fate. Also, I should state I don’t know how Tasers work. I am vaguely familiar & aware they are, sometimes, ineffective on large &/or narcotics intoxicated individuals. I assume they do NOT emit smoke of any sort when they are discharged. I assume the presence of the “laser” sight means the Taser is armed & ready to discharge & that the “laser” sight remains lit after it is discharged. I also assume LEO Shelby did NOT have a “laser” sight on her pistol. So, these unknowns make the dash cam video technically ambiguous to me. Regardless, seemingly 4 – 6 several seconds then progress, while Mr. Crutcher is being given commands & is “lit-up” by the Taser sights, before what appears to be a plume of smoke emits from the proximity of LEO Shelby’s aimed sidearm. Therefore, in my respectful, humble & strictly amateur opinion, the ultra high stress momentarily overloaded & impaired LEO Shelby’s senses & cognitive process to the point of a lapse in judgment & a chronic mistake. So, this would be along similar to your “1st reason” train of thought. I believe the size, the gender, the strong likelihood of the narcotics use & the fact that dozens of LEO Shelby’s lawful commands were seemingly COMPLETELY IGNORED were heavy stressors. I believe she was most likely mentally & perhaps professionally unprepared for the extremely challenging situation that was spontaneously thrust upon her, out of the blue, in the spur of the moment. I believe racial considerations were NOT a stressor what-so-ever. In fact, I believe LEO Shelby has extensive experience working with minority communities AND citizens, for which, to my knowledge, she as official accolades. So, with an advantage on you of a day or two’s worth of developments, but still with the basically minimal facts & evidence in hand, unfortunately, I have no alternative but to tentatively say, she is in a very stick situation. I think a charge was proper & that going for the 1st degree was a predictable overreach. Furthermore, I will go on to predict, I think the 1st degree sets the table for her to plead down to a lesser degree & that she will do just that. I don’t see it going to trial.
    Needless to say, I think she had nothing but the most honorable intent & the “fog of war” got the better of an honorable hero. I hope the unknowns unfold in her favor. Thanks to all public servants who protect & serve. I salute you all! Thoughts & prayers for the Crutcher family & friends & everyone involved.

  61. Lisa Chantel Hill Wade

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My uncle was an LAPD officer and was involved in an incident where the man was on PCP. It took him and three other officers, using billy clubs, to subdue him. My uncle was young and was surprised what PCP could do to a person. As a result, the man died. It was deemed justifiable. I have been trying to explain all of this to people on my Facebook page who have already judged and convicted the police officer. Stay safe.

  62. Mick_73

    There’s a problem in this reconstruction. The officer did recognize he was high on something, and so she might have been also told by the dispatcher. “High on something” means that he was not lucid. Shooting an incapacitated person is awful. Incapacitated does not mean he is restrained. Of course, incapacitated people may be dangerous to themselves and others, but shooting to kill should not be the first response. As a civilian, I am deeply troubled by the fact that an officer might be so entrenched into a way of thinking that sees shooting as the first way to get out of a dangerous situation.

  63. Tiffy

    I wish the media was this objective when dealing with any story. Usually their first reports are speculation and later the truth comes out. All it does is get people riled up and fighting. I have not watched the videos but have seen still frames posted and they are so grainy you can’t see anything but people swear they can see one thing and another person something else. The window picture is the best example some say they see blood on the window, it looks like a seat belt to me but I can’t say if the window was open, but again it’s far to grainy to see. I feel that most people don’t know what a justified shooting is and as stated it could be justified even if there is no weapon. If more people knew what accounts for a justified shooting some of the confusion and argument may end sooner. My cousin is very much on the side that if they aren’t armed it’s unjustified. I always think if they haven’t done a pat down to check for weapons the officer doesn’t know they aren’t unarmed and could easily be fearful if they are reaching and not complying. That’s just my opinion though.

    I think we can all agree that there still are racist people out there, unfortunately, and that the death of anyone is tragic. It doesn’t matter if they were guilty, armed, unarmed, citizen or officer, it is sad to lose a life. I also believe that we don’t have to be all one side or another. Most of my friends are pro police, but if it is clear they were in the wrong they are not. For instance, the man shot while lying down trying to help the autistic boy. I have a friend who was fatally shot by police, he wouldn’t put his hands up and tried to go for his pocket. It’s sad he never met his son (not born yet), but he didn’t comply and out himself in that situation.

    I enjoyed reading this. It gave a perspective about officer involved shootings and even simple encounters civilians just don’t understand. I agree with the last bit of this piece, “If more info comes out, this opinion may change.” That is a great mindset and we all need to embody that when looking at any situation, but especially emotionally charged ones.

    As for the keapernik thing, I’m the wife of a disabled vet and find it very disrespectful to use the national anthem as a way of protest, however, I do realize he has a protected right to not stand as freedom of speech. It just seems distasteful to do it in that manner. He is interviewed all the time and could very easily voice his displeasure in a respectful manner on national television. Again, just my opinion.

  64. loraherrin

    Excellent article, well written and easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time to go into detail with your explanations. It’s the media along with George Soros, that is slanting this a racial altercation, when in fact, that was not the case at all. The only question that remains unanswered is, why wasn’t her body recorder turned on? Only the officer can explain that.

    • Katrina

      Did she have one?

      • rwcoxvpi

        Tulsa doesn’t have body cams yet.

  65. josephself

    What I liked about this was that speculations and assumptions were clearly marked. After more information is released, I hope the writer will return to the topic and substitute facts for those gaps she filled with informed guesses.

  66. CinJam

    Outstanding read. Thank you.

  67. Michael Moore

    Thank you Detective. That was a well written article and puts things in perspective. You have used multiple different points of views of other officers as well as your own experiences to draw from and I commend you for that. Thank you for writing this article as I will share it with others. I hope we as Americans can come together and support each other as well as Law enforcement. Thank you for your service and stay safe.

  68. Alisa

    Thank you! That was the best explanation I’ve read. I hope it goes viral and everyone reads it and thinks about it before reacting to any other police shootings. We the public don’t always understand what you go through on a daily basis. We only judge what we see in the media be it on tv or social. Our judgments usually don’t have all the facts or understanding of the situation and too often are based on emotional bias. Unfortunately, because of racism that is still in our society, many scream racism and blow situations like this out of proportion and overreact and riot because they are so tired of being treated like they don’t matter just because of skin color. I’m always glad to hear the other side from someone who understands both sides and articulates an explanation so well as you have! It has completely changed my view of this incident. I am very glad that our community did not overreact like has happened in so many other states. Thank you for your well articulated explanation and thank you for your service.

  69. Terri Parker Street

    Thank you, Officer Whitaker, for a clear, insightful, and unbiased examination of the facts as they are now known in this case. America has become an instant gratification society. We want everything NOW regardless of whether we have the money to buy it (just put it on plastic!), the background to evaluate it (just believe whatever I read online!), or the compassion to understand it (everyone who disagrees with me is either stupid or prejudiced!). You have explained the situation well, and I appreciate it.

  70. Ted Verdict

    Thank you for your in-depth, objective (at least it is to me) discussion. Very, very informative.

  71. Mary Knoten Braswell

    Thank you for your insight, I found it very interesting as well as enlightening, Thank You for your dedication to law enforcement, please be safe! Praying for all involved!

  72. Questor

    I am concerned that none of this information from the Dispatcher is being referenced by any credible reporter on this situation.

    If the information regarding the 911 calls and the recorded dialogue before, during and after the shooting is correct and available, why is no one giving the accused officer the benefit of the doubt? Leave out the gender of the officer, the size of the officer, the color of the officer, and do the same of Mr. Crutcher’s sex, size, and color …is not the dialogue and actions sufficient to raise extreme doubt as to race being the key to what happened?

    What was racial about this officer’s actions other than that the officer was not the same color as Mr. Crutcher?

    In order to avoid race as a component in police/non-police relations, do we have to have all races policed only by their own race to avoid racial accusations?

    Would it not be better to avoid any description of any actions taken by police, or alleged criminals that is not related to their behavior and statements, rather than adding descriptive elements that inflame those people living on the edge of their emotions?

    • Henry

      It’s not that is racist, it’s being seen as accidental murder. That’s why she was charged with manslaughter. The death of another, that happens unintentionally or negligently. Her finger should not have been on the trigger. There are no accidental discharges, only negligent ones. Keep your dam finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

      Not having a gun doesn’t mean a person wasn’t a threat, but having a gun doesn’t automatically make you a threat either.

      • Shelley Parker Chandler

        There is no information at this time to support that the officer had her finger on the trigger. To say so is very inflammatory.

        • Henry

          Finger on the trigger causing a negligent discharge or intentional shooting. If it was intentional, she’s in deep shit because there was no threat.

          • Sportydog

            You don’t know what you are talking about.

          • Henry

            Bla bla bla. You make a statement. Now explain it.

          • Ronald Green

            Were you there? Can you swear that what you say here, is in fact, what happened? No, you can not because you weren’t there. For you to try to claim that it is, is a falsehood.

          • Henry

            Every single person including the detective who wrote the explanation that all of you are clinging to are making assumptions about what happened. The reality is, you are willing to accept one assumption because it fits what you believe, while rejecting others.

            NO ONE knows, including the detective that wrote this knows what happened. We are all making assumptions based on our training, experiences and what we would do in the same situation!

            So knowing that are you claiming that all these posting from everyone are false or just mine?

          • Ronald Green

            If you will bother to take notice, I made no claim one way or the other. I have made no decision and quite simply refuse to because I wasn’t there and I didn’t witness anything. Neither did you. Your post is one of the few trying to make a definitive assertion of blame on the officer, but you can’t and in truth, neither can anyone else here fault her or Mr. Crutcher. We weren’t there.

            So we are in agreement that a jump to conclusion is foolish at best and dishonest at worst. Are we not?

          • Henry

            No, but you specifically attacked my position and not the others. You did say all of you are making assumptions, you specifically said that I was making assumptions. And as I stated, everyone is making assumptions. Jumping to conclusions may be foolish, we won’t know until the end, however because she was arrested, I’d say my position is much stronger than those that don’t agree. As far as dishonest? What is dishonest about making a decision based on your beliefs? Does that mean when an officer actions are later found not to be justified, are you saying that they were dishonest?

            Making a decision based on information you have, unless you know that information to be false in not dishonest.

          • Ronald Green

            It is dishonest to judge without all the knowable facts, your “beliefs” not withstanding. You assume and you judge based on your assumptions. I did think that in our system of justice, we are considered innocent until Proven guilty… even for a police woman. Or would you rather we have plain old fashioned mob justice? Either we are a Nation of Laws, or we are nothing and doomed to fall. It is one of those ideals that we, as a Nation, strive for.

            Rather than leading a lynch mob, perhaps you should consider where such things lead.

            If it is proven she acted out of malice, it will come out. If it is proven she acted out of negligence, that will also come out. But if it is decided she acted with as much prudence as can be expected is such a situation, where Mr. Crutcher was acting irrationally and May have been under the influence of PCP, can you accept it? I wonder because your posts suggest that you can not.

          • Henry

            I think you post is interesting, because you say judging without knowing all the facts, then you make a judgement without all the facts?

            I have no clue what you are talking about because I said I support turning all the facts over to an impartial jury for trial and point out that many people no longer trust the police to oversee themselves.

            Nowhere have I advocated for a lynch mob. In places I clearly differentiate between facts and my opinion.

            So do you have the same opinion about this article, that it is dishonest?

          • LegalBeagle

            A jury should only be involved if there is a good faith basis in law and fact to believe that there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed a crime. There are still too many unknowns to have come to that conclusion yet.

          • Ronald Green

            Your first statement definitively said she acted negligently and should have kept her finger off the trigger until ready to fire. You do not know that is a fact as you were not there. That is not me “assuming”. That is what you said. Practically all the rest of your statements have been in defense of that assumption on your part. If that is not a conviction on your part, I fail to see how it could be anything else. Hence the “lynch mob” analogy.

            In this article, the Black police woman said many times she did not know and that these things she was saying were her opinions based on her experience. How is that dishonest?

            It is obvious that you want to find this police woman guilty because it proves something to you. What that is, I will not speculate. But that is your bias.

            Can you accept it if it is found that Mr. Crutcher was indeed under the influence of PCP because the evidence that we have does indicate that he was not acting rationally? Or will you assume that is a lie?

          • Henry

            She wasn’t there. So she doesn’t know the facts. Funny how you only think opinions are dishonest when they disagree with your own.

            I never said I wanted her to be found guilty, I said I wanted a jury to decide.

            As far as PCP usage, the results aren’t in? So who’s being dishonest now?

          • Ronald Green

            Funny how biased you are against all police officers. But I think if someone was breaking into your house at night, the first thing you would do is call a cop. No, you have condemned her consistently here so stop denying it. The Black woman who wrote this piece never claimed to be there and said repeatedly that she was giving her opinion based on her experience as a police officer. Your blatant anti-police bias is tiresome.

            I asked you could you accept it if it was found that he was on PCP or would you call it a lie, and you decide I have made a definitive statement that he was. Who is being dishonest here? Your liberalism is showing now as well.

            The truth is, you have convicted her in your mind and will consider No Other Alternative. It is going to a jury, and if she is exonerated, you will cry “foul”.

            I see no point in continuing with this as you have closed you mind to any opinion other than your own, that being… she should hang. Good day sir.

          • Henry

            Wow, you make assumption after assumption after calling them dishonest.
            First of all, who said all police, I am talking about one incident, so your statement is dishonest.
            I’ve condemned her. Really? You’re a mind reader? No your guessing, which according to your earlier posts is dishonest.

            PCP was found in the car, not in his system. Liberal? Really, another guess. I’d like to refer you to your previous post where you say that guessing is dishonest.

            If the jury exonerates her, I will cry foul? Really? Another dishonest post on your part.

            You’re a joke. You post that guessing and not having all the facts is dishonest, but in reality what you meant to say is that anyone that has an opinion different from yours is dishonest. Finally, reread you own posts and they will show how hypocritical you are.

            You clearly say and I quote;

            “It is dishonest to judge without all the knowable facts, your “beliefs” not withstanding.”

            Then you make judgements without knowing the facts. People like you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          • Ronald Green

            The truth seems to hurt you terribly.

            Good bye sir.

          • Terre Gates

            The officer who wrote this said she is basing this on what is known now, and that as new information comes in, if warranted, she will change her position. That is reasonable. It sounds like you’re disappointed it’s may not have been racially motivated, or that there is a possible explanation that takes race out of it.

          • Henry

            Which means she is making an educated guess, just like the rest of us. No where I have mentioned race. You and one other person are the only two that made race an issue. My argument is that she over reacted to threat that didn’t exist. I also clearly state that I believe she did not intentionally fire her weapon. But you just felt the need to bring race up. Says a lot about you.

          • Ron

            I would suggest that the educated guess of a police officer who has been in many similar situations is a much better guess than an armchair quarterback like me could make. Her article is well thought out and well spoken, and the defense attorneys for the cop who shot him should read it and take note. At this point in time there are only two people who know for sure what happened, and one of them is dead.

          • Michael Sullivan

            Please explain. You attack but have no replacement explanation or recommended course of action. Please do share both.

          • Sportydog

            Try your own research, do you always need someone to explain things to you!

          • SoonerfanTU

            There was absolutely a threat. A crazy dude on PCP reaching into an uncleared vehicle is a threat.

          • Henry

            They don’t know if he was mentally ill, that’s an assumption.
            They don’t know if he was on PCP, that’s an assumption.
            The doors were closed and the windows were up.
            Reaching into a vehicle doesn’t automatically make someone a threat, although it would raise suspicion.

            However, had you read the information available, or the article being discussed, you would not that. If you watch the video from the helo, you would see, he doesn’t try to reach into the car, he tries to open the door.

          • SoonerfanTU

            You have so many facts wrong, it’s not even worth dealing with you. Go watch the video. More than once. SLOWLY. And watch what is actually happening. It too me several times watching it to get it all figured out (at least, what can actually be determined). Not to mention, from the facts I know, I’ll bet you just about any amount of money that it comes back that he was on PCP. Too much pointing that direction, with no other reasonable explanation.

          • Henry

            We aren’t discussing the video, we are discussing the article written by the detective. However, I have seen the video. If the video had shown what you say, she would not have been charged with manslaughter.

          • Greg Pylant

            She was charged on Thursday.. police investigation was not even completed. You don’t think that was just a “showcase” move to “appease” ? Quote by the investigator … first time he’s ever seen it in his career.

          • Henry

            That is a possibility. However, the police have also never been under so much scrutiny before. Here in Washington we had an officer charged and in the past, it would have been overlooked. The days of unquestioned actions are over. Just as in the last case where the officer was tried and cleared, the family said they were satisfied because a trial decided the facts and not other officers covering for their own.

          • Greg Pylant

            And let’s not forget that he wasn’t searched for a weapon.. I believe part of her statements included he kept reaching into his pocket .. I’m going to “guess” this was prior to the helicopter and video.. Opinions .. we all have them.. but we don’t have all the facts.

          • Pam

            Really? He wasn’t obeying orders! He would have never gotten shot if he had dropped to his knees and stayed put! I’m sure she didn’t wake up that morning thinking she was going to kill someone. People think they are above the law, black or white! Do what you are told to do!!!!!

          • Henry

            Not obeying orders is not grounds to kill someone. Thankfully the prosecutor agrees with me that deadly force was unjustified.

          • LegalBeagle

            That does not mean the prosecutor is qualified, or made the decision on a sound basis.

          • Henry

            This also doesn’t mean the prosecutor is unqualified or that the decision wasn’t made on a sound basis.

            Funny how every statement you make is an attempt to shield the officer.

          • Ronald Green

            Funny how every statement you make is a condemnation of the officer.

          • Henry

            Sure is, because she fucked up.
            I noticed you didn’t answer my last question?

          • Ronald Green

            And finally you admit your anti-police bias. You will accept No other conclusion except that she should be hung. So much for innocent until proven guilty. You believe you are as a god, knowing all and seeing everything, but you delude yourself as you are not even a very good man.

            Good day sir.

          • Henry

            You still didn’t answer my last question? Why not? As far an anti-police? Really. Another assumption without any facts to back it up. Didn’t you say that was dishonest earlier?
            I’m god now, wow, really? When did that come into the conversation?
            You can’t remember your past statements and make statements that contradict each other. According to you, you are dishonest. Your statement, not mine. Grow up.

          • Ronald Green

            Project we much? As I said to you earlier. There is No point in discussing this further with you as all you wish to hear is conformation of your bias. Nothing else will suffice. And when you don’t get it, you turn to insult and childish accusation. There is nothing to discuss as you want her hung and nothing less will do. Your mind is made up. So do continue with your little tirade.

            Good day sir.

          • LegalBeagle

            No, I am concerned about the rush to judgment when the facts are likely too nuanced to be analyzed well in less than a month. I’ve read good OIS reports, and they take weeks or months to complete. The more ambiguous the facts are (and there are a lot of things here about which we simply do not know enough), the longer it takes.

          • Henry

            Sometimes cases are extremely complicated and I’ve seen cases drag on for years. However, some cases are very clear cut.

          • Ron

            Actually depending on the circumstances, not obeying orders IS grounds to kill someone. The article is clear that if, from the perspective of a “reasonable officer” she had reason to fear for her life, then she was completely justified in killing him. Like it not, disagree with it or not, that is the law. And that is what will be determined if it goes to court. I don’t think it will make it that far.

          • Henry

            Generally it is not. If the person has or is know to have a weapon, that different. There was no weapon and there were enough officers to physically control the suspect.

          • paul cuzz

            As it stands she is going to have a hard time with that defense, esp when the officer right next to her was the reasonable one who saw no threat.

          • August Saunders

            So you are saying he deserved to die because he walked away with his hands up. That alone justifies death? By the way, would you care to site his crime for us that would have given him the death penalty in a court of law. I would very much love to hear what that crime was.

          • ReGina Hughes

            Doing what you are told doesn’t always work out either.

          • Pam

            So true. My thought is though if you don’t obey then that’s the chance you take. Not that shooting and killing him was right but I bet if he had stopped, not continued to walk away, he might not have gotten shot.

          • TexasRose

            You don’t know if she felt a threat. She states she did feel a threat—he was reaching for the door handle of his vehicle attempting to reenter the vehicle. Youtube Kyle Dinkheller if you want to know why you should never allow anyone to reenter their vehicle.

        • sbozich

          The officer certainly had her finger on the trigger when the firearm fired.

      • humanfan

        Also Henry.. we don’t know but as said in this story when his left hand disappeared she may have fired intentionally, not accidently but intentionally because that was a threat to her or others safety.

        • Henry

          That’s true we don’t. But people here seem content to assume that he was up to something nefarious but bristle up when people assume that his actions were benign.

          • wwoneflyingace

            Partial compliance is non-compliance.

          • Henry

            What are you talk about? I never said anything about partial compliance? But since you bring it up, partial compliance can be compliance or non-compliance depending on the person’s actions or the officer’s point of view.

            BTW – I reread the entire thread and no one says anything about partial compliance except you!

          • Angie Lamb Naquin

            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

          • Angie Lamb Naquin

            The above was copied and pasted from the article.

          • Henry

            Non-compliance is not a reason to use deadly force? But… This isn’t about compliance. That called blame shifting. The officer is the one that has been charged for her actions. Her department believes she over reacted and the prosecutor believes she over reacted. Stop talking about compliance!

          • Angie Lamb Naquin

            You said that you reread the article and there was nothing in the article about compliance and non-compliance. And the above came from the article and I thought that if you missed that maybe it would be a good idea to read again. Not talking about weather he was compliant or not…..but it was stated in the article about particial compliance equals no compliance. That’s all I was saying. I was taking neither side.

          • Henry

            If you reread the thread, you will see that “wwoneflyingace” brought up the issue of compliance, in order to justify the actions of the officer. I did not bring up compliance.

            If you read the post you responded to, I even say stop talking about compliance.

          • Ron

            Her department didn’t charge her, those charges were brought by the Tulsa County DA, who may or may not have been influenced by public perception. People seem to be arguing non-compliance as if they did not read the article we are all talking about here. The officer makes it clear, as do the training videos police officers are shown, that there is no such thing as partial compliance. Not fully complying to the instructions given by a police officer is cause for that person to be on heightened alert,and to take whatever steps are necessary to protect themselves and other citizens from the person failing to comply. When you do not follow their instructions you automatically come under suspicion, regardless of how benign your reasons for not complying may be.

          • Henry

            The first part of your statement is correct. Tulsa Co Da files the charges.
            I’m not sure why some of you keep trying to argue compliance. I never mentioned compliance because it’s not a factor. We are talking about the unlawful use of force. Was force justified yes, the question is whether or not deadly force was justified.

          • SoonerfanTU

            The intent of his actions don’t matter. Did you read the article? Doesn’t matter that no gun was in the vehicle.

          • Henry

            It’s clear that you haven’t been following the entire thread. I clear state, that not having a gun doesn’t mean you aren’t a threat and having a gun doesn’t automatically make you a threat.
            And his actions do matter, because the officers response is based off his actions. Are you saying that regardless of what he did, the officer was going to shoot, because his actions don’t matter. Because that IS your statement.

          • SoonerfanTU

            I didn’t say his actions don’t matter. I said the INTENT of his actions don’t matter. Example…..if the office had him at gun point and was telling him to get on the ground, and there was a gun next to him that he reached for, it doesn’t matter whether a) he was reaching for the gun to shoot at the officer, or b) he was reaching for the gun to hand it to the office or place it on the ground or show the officer it was fake. The INTENT doesn’t matter. Just the action. Which in this case, the action is at a minimum reaching for the door handle trying to enter the vehicle, and perhaps reaching with the other hand through or towards a rolled down window.

            That is a threat to the office. Period.

          • Henry

            Well, seems the prosecutor agrees with me and he is in possession of all the evidence, the statements of the other officers and the statement of the defendant.

          • SoonerfanTU

            With all of the protesting and stuff, not just here but around the country, I had little doubt charges would be filed. Let’s see how the trial turns out. If I’m on that jury, no way I’d find her guilty.

          • Henry

            If a jury clears her, then great. People are just tired of one officer clearing another without all the evidence being reviewed by impartial people.

          • LegalBeagle

            That does not mean he knows how to analyze this use of force. The vast majority of lawyers, including criminal practitioners on both sides, know just about zilch about use of force. At this point, I am not sure that the charging decision can withstand a legal ethics analysis. (And I am a prosecutor.)

          • Henry

            That’s about one of the most inaccurate statements I’ve read today. To say that attorneys don’t understand the use of force is crazy. Maybe you don’t understand the use of force, but I’ve been in many trials and I’ve yet to see a prosecutor or defense attorney that was familiar with the use of force by police. In fact, it’s a necessity in order to defend or bring charges against the police.

          • LegalBeagle

            Self defense, which is not the same, but related, is maybe 2 classroom hours of law school. There is nothing about perception, recognition and control of threats, such as was described so well by Detective Whitaker. Ballistics? Anatomy relevant to stopping violent criminals? Nada. There are many good attorneys who do work concentrated in some area of the law, but who could not practice in other areas. I have no business doing bankruptcy, riparian rights or a lot of other areas.

            This is true of use of force, too. I doubt that there are more than 1000 lawyers in the U.S. who have an adequate knowledge of the topic. I’ve tried such cases against good lawyers who simply did not know what they didn’t know. You are correct that adequate knowledge is necessary, but I rarely see it. I’ve been in the field one way or another for most of 30 years, and rarely encounter attorneys savvy enough to try such a case, or even to assess and give advice about it. I live in the 9th Circuit, and the crap from plaintiffs’ counsel is often so bad I can’t tell if counsel is incompetent, or just dishonest, and often the defense counsel’s work is no better. That’s one of the reasons we have such cockamamie case law in this Circuit.

          • Henry

            Your statement was that most attorneys don’t know about use of force. That is what I am contesting.

      • Jeff Scott

        There’s no such thing as accidental murder. Murder is intentional. Manslaughter is used where death is deemed to be caused by accident or without malice aforethought.
        That’s why Officer Shelby has been charged with first degree manslaughter. At this point the preponderance of evidence points to wrongful death absent malice, and not an intentional premeditated killing.

        • Henry

          My post was an oversimplification, but if you read the entire post I clearly use the words unintentionally and negligently to describe the incident.

          Quote:
          “That’s why she was charged with manslaughter. The death of another, that happens unintentionally or negligently”

      • Jack Mahoghof

        Henry is obviously a moron.

        • Henry

          You’re just upset because you mom likes me more than you. Nothing intelligent to say so you’ve resorted to name calling.

    • pen44

      Let’s not forget that the media helps the families win their million dollar lawsuits. Everyone lies for political purposes, and the police are getting destroyed. Please research and study all of the Socialist & Communist societies to see where this is going. Our law enforcement officers are enforcing our laws: city, county, state and federal. Some of our politicians want their own “armies”/police agencies that will do their bidding, which is never a good thing. We are living in dangerous times….on the edge of a SocioCommunist state. Remember, a Socialist is just a Communist with patience.

    • Michael Akin

      Can you please explain the bizarre behavior of the group of officers that backed away from where the shooting was to the cars? What were they doing?

    • H Town Psych

      I don’t believe half of the stuff stated here by this unknown person. That information is not mentioned by credible reporters because it is probably stuff that this person made up.

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