Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, who fatally shot a man, who refused to comply with officer commands last year has been acquitted. Social Justice Warriors are, of course irate. These SJWs are, as usual ignoring certain facts about the case to push another “hands up don’t shoot” narrative. I will get to those facts in a bit, but first, here is what Clinton C Yates, a writer for The Undefeated wrote about the acquittal
Another day, another police officer walks free after killing an unarmed black person.
Here he goes, painting police officers with a very broad brush. Yates irresponsibly paints an America where police are hunting down unarmed Black men and getting away with it. This is, to be fair, complete bull excrement
You might remember the case of Terence Crutcher. Last year in Tulsa, he was killed by Officer Betty Shelby after a situation that unfolded outside of his car that was caught by police dash cameras as well as helicopter footage. It shows Crutcher, walking toward his car with police trailing him, guns pointed. Then, Crutcher’s arms come down and shots ring out, leaving him to lie there and die on the side of the road in Oklahoma. She was acquitted on Wednesday.
Of course, the fact is that Crutcher was walking away from officers towards his car, despite their commands to stop. His hands were up, until he got to his vehicle, then they went down, his right hand dropping towards his front pocket and his left out of view, with his body leaning forward as if he might be reaching into his vehicle. Then, officer Shelby fired, fearing, with some good reason, that Crutcher might be reaching for a weapon. Yates might not realize that often when a suspect does not comply, and acts as if he or she might have, or be attempting to get a weapon, then officers do have a right to use force. Here is Shelbys version of that day
At about 7:36 p.m. Friday, dispatchers received a 911 call about an abandoned SUV in the middle of a street, with the driver’s door open and the engine still running, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Monday. The caller said a man was running from the vehicle, saying it was “going to blow.”
Shelby and another officer were on their way to a domestic violence call when she came across the SUV, Jordan said.
On her way to that call, Shelby saw Crutcher standing in the middle of the road, looking down at the ground, Wood said, adding that she would have stopped and checked up on him had she not been on the other call.
She then saw the SUV parked in the middle of the street, obstructing traffic in both directions, Wood said. The engine was running when she got there, which she found odd because she assumed it was either disabled or broken down, he said.
Wood said “it’s important to remember” that Shelby was on the scene with Crutcher for about a minute and a half before the start of the video clip released by police on Monday.
When Shelby approached the car, the doors were closed, and the windows were open, Wood said. She looked into the passenger’s side to make sure no one was on the floor of the car, and as she was getting ready to move to the driver’s side, she turned around and saw Crutcher walking toward her, Wood said.
Wood said that Shelby then said to Crutcher, “Hey, is this your car?”
Crutcher didn’t respond, simply dropping his head while continuing to look at Shelby, “kind of under his brow,” Wood said. Crutcher then began to put his hand into his left pocket, Wood said, adding that Shelby told Crutcher, “Hey, please keep your hands out of your pocket while you’re talking to me. Let’s deal with his car.”
Crutcher did not respond, Wood said, so Shelby ordered him again to get his hand out of his pocket. He then pulled his hand away and put his hands up in the air, even though he was not instructed to do so, which Shelby found strange, Wood said.
Shelby tried to get Crutcher to talk to her, but he simply mumbled something unintelligible and stared at her, Wood said. He then turned and walked to the edge of the roadway and turned to look at her, his hands still in the air, Wood said. He put his hands down and started to reach into his pocket again, Wood said, and she ordered him again to get his hands out of his pocket.
At this point, Shelby, a drug recognition expert, believed Crutcher was “on something,” Wood said, possibly PCP.
In fact, Crutcher was on PCP, which would explain erratic behavior.
Shelby then radioed in that she had a subject “who is not following commands.”
“You can kind of hear a degree of stress in her voice when she says that,” Wood said.
Shelby then pulled out her gun and had Crutcher at gunpoint as she commanded him to get on his knees, Wood said. She pulled out a gun instead of a Taser because she thought he had a weapon, and she was planning to arrest him for being intoxicated in public and possibly obstructing the investigation, Wood said.
Shelby ordered Crutcher to stop multiple times as Crutcher walked toward the SUV with his hands up, Wood said.
But those orders cannot be heard in the audio from the dashcam video, which starts as another patrol car pulls up to the scene, showing Crutcher walking toward the SUV with his hands up as Shelby follows him, apparently with her weapon drawn and pointing at Crutcher.
As the video from the helicopter begins, Crutcher was “angling” toward his car while Shelby repeatedly commanded him to stop, Wood said. His hands were still in the air.
“As a police officer, you have to wonder — why would someone ignore commands at gunpoint to get to a certain location?” Wood said.
Crutcher’s arms came down, and he turned to face the car, Wood said, and he reached into the driver’s side window with his left hand. That’s when Shelby fired one shot and a fellow officer, Tyler Turnbough, deployed a Taser, Wood said.
Shelby believed that when Crutcher attempted to reach into the car, he was retrieving a weapon, Wood said. In her interview with homicide detectives, she said, “I was never so scared in my life as in that moment right then,” according to Wood.
Police are trained not to allow a suspect to return to their vehicle, or to have their hand sin their pockets where a weapon might be. But, this is not important to Yates, who is focused solely on race. He writes
Where to begin. We’ll start with the trail, as the video shows you the details of the interaction. From there, let’s fast-forward to Shelby’s testimony, in which she states very plainly what the specific threat of police privilege and white supremacy means. Her fear was more important than her victim’s life. Beyond that admission, which was honest, she made an even more important statement about why, following her fear, she chose to shoot: That’s police policy.
Wow, Yates is out in left field here. Where he gets to police privilege, or White supremacy is beyond me. Maybe Yates was on PCP or some other mind-altering drug when he wrote this. Clearly Yates does not grasp the reality of use of deadly force. An officer can use deadly force when in fear for their life, or in fear of the lives of others. The late Bob Owens, laid out the case that Shelby was justified last September
The U.S. Supreme Court case Graham vs. Connor (1989) established that officers who use force must be judged on the totality of circumstances and a standard of “objective reasonableness.” That is, they must be judged on whether a similarly trained person in the same circumstance with the same vantage point and perspective as the officer in question would have a similar reaction, without the benefit of hindsight.
The murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller is an especially graphic example of why law enforcement officers never allow a belligerent suspect to return to their vehicle and reach inside. The chilling screams of Deputy Dinkheller have echoed through law enforcement training academies throughout the nation for 18 years as instructors have shown police cadets why it is so important for their safety, the safety of their suspects, and the safety of the public at large that they maintain control over the situation.
That brings us back to the perceptions held by Officer Betty Shelby and Officer Tyler Turnbough as Mr. Crutcher returned to his vehicle, against numerous commands to stop.
Here’s the helicopter’s view of the scene just seconds before Officer Shelby made the calculated decision to fire her handgun and Officer Turnbough then fired his taser either at the same time or split second later.
You’ll note from the photo that Crutcher’s hand is down by his waist at approximately the one o’clock position. We can’t see his left arm (it’s blocked by his body), but he does indeed to be learning forward, as if he’s reaching into the vehicle.
As investigators look into the shooting, they’re quite likely to concur with Officer Shelby that the positioning of Mr. Crutcher’s body and the angle it is leaning does suggest that he’s leaning and perhaps reaching with his left hand. Whether he his actually reaching into the vehicle as Officer Shelby perceives, or it is merely hidden by his body lean and it just appears that he’s reaching into the vehicle is ultimately immaterial.
Terence Crutcher was going to be arrested for being intoxicated in public (and not for the first time), but resisted arrest (again, not for the first time), and appears to be reaching for a weapon (yet again, not for the first time).
I’d argue that under the totality of the circumstances, it is very reasonable for Officer Shelby to suspect that a non-compliant suspect whom she suspected of being intoxicated on PCP was reaching for a weapon when he lowered his hands and leaned hard with his side in a motion that appears consistent from her perspective at the rear of the vehicle with someone trying to reach inside it.
All of this of course, would be wasted on Yates I fear. He is so stricken with the false narratives of Black Lives Matter and with Racial Obsession Syndrome, that he ignores facts.
“She articulated all of the reasons why she believed he was armed and why she took the action that she did that was in accordance with her training. In times of heavy stress and fear and uncomfortability, we revert to our training, and that’s what you want an officer to do. And you want them to handle situations the way they’re trained to handle them,” Jerad Lindsey, chairman of the Tulsa FOP, said earlier this week about Shelby’s testimony. “It takes tenths of seconds for someone to already make the mental decision to pull a weapon and shoot you.”
The last sentence is the most important. What it basically says is the very same logic that police use to justify their decision-making in firing rounds is exactly what’s used against you when you haven’t even done anything. You can talk about the inherent danger of police work and what it takes to protect a community, but the problem with the “blue lives matter” logic is two-fold. One, no one is born a police officer. Secondarily, because it is a job, there are certain risks that simply have to be a part of the accountability scale in order for the entire system to work, if you’re even going to consider fairness a part of the equation. If every encounter is going to be considered life or death, then the logic should apply both ways. Meaning, Crutcher might have thought they were going to try to kill him, too. Otherwise, what you’re openly admitting is: This isn’t fair and doesn’t have to be.
By leaving the judgment to human nature and throwing one’s hands up after that, you’re completely eliminating acknowledgment of the most obvious of factors here: race. Inherent bias, never mind outright racist attitudes and methods, are well-studied and documented components of law enforcement, but they are clearly the defining factor in many cases. To be noted, the window was up.
This man’s blackness obviously made her feel like he was more likely to kill her or her colleagues.
Good Freaking Grief he has gone completely off the rails. That last paragraph is basically incoherent ramblings, with a healthy portion of idiocy. What does it matter tha no one is born a police officer? And, yes, there are inherent risks to police work, so what? Yates seems to believe that police should cede the right to defend themselves, to be “fair”. And I have no clue where he gets the “every encounter is going to be considered life or death” lunacy from. People of all races have millions of interactions with police every year that end up in no one getting hurt. But, again facts matter not to those suffering fron Racial Obsession Syndrome. I leave you with more of Yates babbling foolishness
The point here is that the violence that takes the lives of so many unarmed black people isn’t just accidental or incidental, it’s state-sponsored.
Again, this is the price of people not being versed in critical thinking and common sense isn’t it? Yates is angry, he is emoting and by God facts will not deter him in his outrageously outrageous outrage. He prefers ignorance and anger to truth. Again, that is sad