Latest posts by Bryanna Briley (see all)
- How Exceptional Black Women Lead — A Conversation With Dr. Avis Jones DeWeever
Dr. DeWeever’s latest book helps black women realize their full potential- June 12, 2018
- Nick Cave’s Soundsuits Confront Racism With Radical Artistry [Video]
An exhibition entitled “Here Hear” was previously on display at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit, close to Cave’s alma mater.- October 17, 2016
- Body PositiveSpeaker Malia Anderson Talks Passion, Perseverance and Paying It Forward
“What if I just woke up every morning and said ‘This is my body and I love it.’ and then I went out the door and presented myself in the best possible way?”- October 9, 2016
In an ever-present reminder that there is work still to be done with respect to racism and associated tensions, Terrence Crutcher was fatally shot while unarmed in Tulsa earlier this week.
This story has an interesting divergence from the norm. The officer, who shot Crutcher, Betty Shelby, has been charged with manslaughter. With the undeniable evidence of a video detailing her actions as Crutcher stood outside of his stalled vehicle, it is uplifting that Shelby was not given the typical reprieve.
Tulsa police have confirmed that Crutcher was unarmed. Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, claims that Crutcher was not following police commands, which led to his shooting. While Shelby shot, another officer responded with a stun gun.
Governor Mary Fallin released an optimistic statement following the sentencing: “No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision, in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death.”
Shelby’s conviction is historic, given that few female officers have faced charges for fatal shootings in the last ten years.
Allegedly, Crutcher appeared to be posing a threat. In reality, his car had broken down, and he was waiting hopefully for help. Though Shelby claims that he was reaching into his car – the motion that provoked the shooting – it has been made clear that the window was rolled up during the interaction.
“How could he be reaching into the car if the window is up and there’s blood on the glass?” Attorney Benjamin Crump asked, citing a photograph of the crime scene. “The window is up. There’s a streak of blood on the window. It’s coming down the car door.”
Crutcher just celebrated his 40th birthday with his twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher. He was a father of four and had just enrolled in a Tulsa community college. As Crump argued, there was no need for Crutcher to be shot.
At a news conference, he asked soberly, “Why is an unarmed black man who has committed no crime, who only needed a helping hand, given bullets in his lung?”
Though Shelby justified her actions with the claim that Crutcher seemed to be intoxicated, is still doesn’t make sense that an innocent civilian should be killed while an alleged terrorist was taken into custody civilly on Monday.
Many feel comfortable saying that this was not a racially motivated occurrence. The fact of the matter is that another unarmed black individual was perceived as a threat by a white officer. Another unarmed black man is now dead, having committed no crime. And while it is a relief to know that Shelby has been charged for her actions, the condition of black bodies as endangered in this country has only been amplified.