We have all witnessed the amazing police work in New York and New Jersey the past few days. President Obama has praised their quick and “outstanding” work in apprehending Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is the only suspect so far. Who could argue with that?
Most of the work the police do is good work and they deserve much credit for what they usually do. There is no doubt policing can be a difficult job sometimes, especially when officers are confronted with potentially life-and-death situations. But some of the work the police do is bad work, bad policing. We can’t ignore that fact. And we can’t ignore the fact that such bad police work is often, though not exclusively, directed toward people of color. Like in Tulsa last Friday, as told by the Associated Press:
A black man fatally shot by a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer responding to a stalled vehicle had no weapon on him or in his SUV, the city’s police chief said Monday.
Local and federal authorities are investigating the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said before the department released dashcam footage of Friday’s shooting.
“We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said.
Meanwhile, family members and community leaders who have viewed the footage said it clearly shows that Crutcher’s hands were in the air when he was shot.
“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent,” one of the attorneys for the family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held….
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 spokeswoman 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 Monday.
Here is an AP story on the ACLU’s reaction to the shooting:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is calling for criminal charges in a Tulsa police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, saying he was left to bleed to death while officers stood by without rendering aid.
ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel says Terence Crutcher’s death on Friday shows “how little regard” Tulsa police officers have for minority communities.
Crutcher was shot to death by a Tulsa officer who was responding to a report of a stalled vehicle. Dashcam and aerial footage released Monday by police showed Crutcher lying on the street, bleeding, and no one immediately administered medical aid.
A Tulsa police spokeswoman, Jeanne MacKenzie, said she couldn’t comment Monday on whether officers have a set protocol on when to provide medical assistance.
Here are two videos released so far. If you see a reason—any reason—to shoot Mr. Crutcher, please point it out to me: