Pastor: Video of police shooting shows man's hands were up

2016-09-19 22:51
US police. (File, Jeff Roberson, AP)

US police. (File, Jeff Roberson, AP)

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Tulsa — Video of the fatal police shooting of a black man in Tulsa shows that the man's "hands were in the air," according to a pastor who saw the footage, which is scheduled to be released to the public on Monday.

Rodney Goss, a pastor at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Tulsa, told the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2cINS4j ) that he was appalled after seeing video clips that were released on Sunday to local community leaders and to the family of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. Crutcher was shot by a white Tulsa police officer when he reached into his stalled SUV on Friday.

Authorities haven't said whether Crutcher had a weapon but say he refused police orders to put up his hands.

Goss and others were shown dash-camera video from two of the responding officers' vehicles, along with video from a police helicopter camera. Goss said Crutcher didn't exhibit behaviour that would potentially warrant being shot by a police officer.

"His hands were in the air from all views," Goss said.

Tulsa Police sergeant Shane Tuell confirmed that relatives were shown the recordings on Sunday ahead of the planned public release.

"We wanted them to see it before it was released so they wouldn't be blindsided by it," Tuell said. "We wanted to be able to have that intimate time with them, with their attorney, to see if they had any questions or concerns.

"With something of this magnitude, we're trying an approach that we believe is necessary to further that transparency."

Goss said the public should respond with reason, not violence. Pleas Thompson, president of the NAACP's Tulsa chapter, also saw the videos. He didn't provide details but told the newspaper that he expects the public's reaction to be "level-headed" following the videos' release.

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the Tulsa County courthouse on Monday morning, waving signs that read, "This Stops Now" and "Not Going, Keep Protesting". They also chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot". One protester, Tulsa resident Mark Whited, said more needed to be done to "bridge the mistrusts" between communities.

Authorities said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. Police said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist. Police spokesperson Jeanne MacKenzie has said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands.

Police say Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while Officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher. Both officers are white, MacKenzie said on Monday.

Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, told reporters Saturday that the family is heartbroken. She said her brother had left a class at Tulsa Community College when his SUV stalled in the street. She also said she was confident that her brother wasn't carrying a gun.

The police chief has asked the US Department of Justice to help investigate the shooting.

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