Another day in America, another Black life taken by the hands of the police. An unarmed Black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma was shot execution style shortly after he was stopped by Tulsa police because of a stalled vehicle. Let that sink in. This man was shot dead because of a stalled vehicle. In a video shot at a bird’s eye view, we see 40-year-old Terence Crutcher walk towards the police with his hands up, and then just like that, he’s on the ground. Officer Betty Shelby has been identified as the one who pulled the trigger, take a wild guess as to what Officer Shelby’s race was (hint: she was white). Police announced that Crutcher was not armed nor were there any weapons in his vehicle. So how could they possibly justify this cold blooded murder? His hands were up, he had no weapons, so what’s your excuse this time. Because the way I see it, it appears that this man was shot purely because of the color of his skin.
In the video, we hear the man from the helicopter say “That looks like a bad dude. Probably on something”. I think we all know how one can ‘look like a bad dude’ in the eyes of the police. And must I even address how wrong it is to play onto the association of Black men and drugs? In the words of Crutcher’s sister, Tiffany Crutcher, that bad dude was a father, a brother, a husband. Who are you to deem someone a bad dude, without actually knowing him- his life mattered. So, you have your ignorant racist stereotypes- fine. But we shouldn’t live in a country where these stereotypes are so openly applied to life-or-death situations.We also hear the man in the helicopter say “time for a taser”. Isn’t a little off-putting that the people that are meant to protect are so liberal with their weapons that cause such harm? Isn’t a little off-putting that these people are so trigger-happy, especially when suspects have a little more melanin in their skin?
According to police briefings, Crutcher ‘wasn’t obeying officer commands’. I know my view as an outsider just watching the video released to the public may not matter very much but from over here, it appears that this guy was doing everything he possibly could to ensure his life. Yet, it was still snatched from him, demonstrating once again that we are absolutely powerless at the hands of the police. Let’s say that Officer Shelby felt threatened, that Crutcher actually wasn’t listening to orders. I refuse to believe that shooting him dead in the street was the only way to take control of the situation. Is that really what they’re teaching police these days? To shoot anything of color that moves? Somewhere along the path of the racist history of this country, the police have been disillusioned into believing that they can do whatever they please with black bodies. We are beyond tired, we are tired of saying that we are tired. What is even more terrifying is thinking of the possibility of the Tulsa police officer who took Crutcher’s life getting away with this tragedy.