Not One More.
One more Black life has been taken away from the hands of the police task force. In Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 16, 2016, Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by police officer Betty Shelby. In the police surveillance video, it shows Crutcher walking towards his SUV with his hands up in the air. Four officers, one of them being Officer Shelby, advance towards Crutcher who was walking towards his car and seems to lowers his hands and put them on his car. In the video footage, you can hear someone say “time for a taser” and later saying “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something”. In the span of a couple of seconds, Crutcher falls to the ground as a woman on the police radio yells “Shots fired!” and the officers slowly back away with their guns still pointing at Crutcher.
Shelby’s lawyer, Wood, explains that when the officers showed up and asked Crutcher if the car was his, he did not respond and approached the officers with his hands at first in his pockets, then took them out. Wood states that Shelby fired her gun while another officer fired a taser at Crutcher at the same time, and since Shelby had “tunnel vision” she did not realize there were others on the scene. Police Officer Betty Shelby stated she was scared that Crutcher was going to harm her. However, an investigator declared that Crutcher was walking away with his hands up. Since he did not respond to Shelby’s commands to halt, she became “emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted”. This case has become a part of the list that shows the nation’s position on race relations. Protesters of this case declared that Officer Shelby be fired, while the Crutcher family wanted criminal charges against Shelby. Currently Officer Shelby is on routine administrative leave while the Department of Justice according to the LA Times has opened a civil rights investigation and the local authorities are analyzing the shooting.
As I watch the footage over and over again, it sickens me how fast police officers react with a gun. Instead of resorting to a less harmful way of stopping a “suspect” with a taser, they quickly resort to a lethal weapon. Shelby’s testimony on why she reacted with her gun because she was scared was irrational because as a police officer you are supposed to be prepared for those situations and can not shoot someone without a reasonable cause. In many of these police brutality cases, it seems like they do not realize how much a bullet can impact not just one life, but many. What I realized also was that when officers shoot the victims, they don’t aim for a body part that disables them, they go straight for the lethal shot. Many lives could have been saved if police’s instinct to shoot was somewhere other than the chest. Reading further in the LA Times newspaper article, it says Crutcher was stranded with his disabled SUV, and that’s when the officers stopped and approached him. If he had been a white man, would they have gone about the situation differently and not have their guns aimed at him? It is important to make the connection between racial bias and police brutality since many innocent lives were taken due to being blinded by racial discrimination.
As another name is added to the list of the innocent lives lost in the hands of police officers, there is another reason to fix the racial bias problem that is implemented in the minds on the police task force. How many more lives will be taken because of racial bias and unprepared police officers? The government needs to address the issue that has affected the lives of innocent African Americans and find a way to prevent this injustice from occurring in our country. Black lives matter and not only does the law enforcement need to realize it, but society as well. We can not see anymore faces of the innocent black lives lost because of racial profiling on the tabloids anymore. We live in the twenty first century and are no longer living in the past where segregation and unjust laws exist. African Americans have fought long and hard for the United States Government to legally view them as equal. This racial discrimination in the United States law enforcement needs to come to an end. We can not have one more life lost in the hands of racial bias. Not one more.