It has become very fashionable to tell lies about law enforcement immediately after any high profile event. Who could forget the “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra in Ferguson, that happened to be a complete lie. That lie doesn’t stop celebrities and politicians from still lying today which can be very effective in the court of public opinion.
In Tulsa, we saw similar lies brought forward by activists and attorneys and to this day, some of those lies continued to be told. As the trial of Officer Betty Shelby comes to an end (the defense rested today), here are the five biggest lies told in this case.
- The window was up: As soon as the video of the incident was released, lawyers took to the national news to proclaim that Terrence Crutcher was never a threat because the windows in his car were up. Once the video was enhanced and the trial started, the prosecutor admitted that the window was indeed down.
- The car was broke down: To this day, the story remains that Terrence Crutcher’s car broke down and he simply wanted some help by the police and he was gunned down in the process. Of course that never made any sense. The lead homicide detective testified that the car was operational and the subsequent tests of the car showed the same.
- Officer Shelby lacked training: This is a common lie in police events but the problem with this lie is that testimony revealed that Shelby was not only highly trained but one of the highest trained police officers in the country. For the last decade, she has averaged 10 times more training than what was required of her and she is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Her attorneys describe her training as in the top 1% in the nation. Honestly, as a DRE and EMT along with over 2000 hours of in-service training in ten years, she is likely higher than that.
- The “Bad Dude” comment was racist: This is probably one of the most asinine lies that is being told. Not only did his criminal record show this to be true, the helicopter pilot testified that he called him that because in his 12 years in law enforcement, he had never seen anyone walk away and act in the fashion that Crutcher did.
- This is about race: This remains the lie that has to be told in virtually every police incident and it has here as well. Of course, there has not been any evidence that Officer Shelby displayed any racist views or behavior in a decade of police work or in 43 years of her life. Trust me, if there was so much as a joke told, it would have been announced to everyone. While it is true that Crutcher was black, are we supposed to believe that Shelby just decided on that fateful day to treat a black person differently? How about the 911 callers that were scared and left the scene? Are they racist? Calling someone a racist is the most powerful and damaging thing you can do to anyone so it is an automatic thing to do against cops and ultimately doing it every time, hurts the true fight against true racism.
So those are just some of the lies in this case and it will not stop there. There will be another police shooting in another city and the lies will continue and one may ask, what are the police to do?
For one, law enforcement has to stop hiding behind “ongoing investigations” and make statements and make them early. The first story almost always wins out (see Ferguson) and the police need to start telling factual stories very early on and then continue with factual statements as the case progresses. If the police aren’t setting the true narrative, you can bet someone else will and in all likelihood that alternative narrative will be chalked full of half truths and even outright lies.
Law Officer is the only major law enforcement publication and website owned and operated by law enforcement. This unique facet makes Law Officer much more than just a publishing company but is a true advocate for the profession.