Saturday, May 20, 2017

Acquittal in Tulsa

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice the drop in mass shootings and cop killings since Trump took over?

"Tulsa leaders urge peace after cop acquitted in man’s death" by Justin Juozapavicius Associated Press  May 19, 2017

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa leaders on Thursday called for a peaceful response to a jury’s decision to acquit a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, and said more must be done to fight racial divisions in Oklahoma’s second-largest city.

The comments came after a jury on Wednesday found Tulsa officer Betty Shelby not guilty of manslaughter. She said she shot out of fear Sept. 16 when she killed Terence Crutcher, who had his hands held above his head.

The initial reaction from the community in the hours after Wednesday night’s verdict was peaceful. About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse and some briefly blocked a main street, but police kept a relatively low profile about a block away.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a news conference Thursday that he respected the jury’s decision, while also calling Tulsa’s racial divide the city’s greatest moral issue. At least four of the 12 jurors were crying as they left the courtroom Wednesday, and they did not look at either Crutcher’s family or Shelby. The jury had eight women and four men and included three African-Americans.

Crutcher’s family was quickly ushered out of the courtroom sobbing and wailing after the decision.

‘‘Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder,’’ Crutcher’s father, the Rev. Joey Crutcher, said outside the courtroom.

Shelby looked stone-faced when the verdict was read, but her lawyer said she was ‘‘elated’’ with the jury’s decision.

Shelby testified that she fired her weapon out of fear because she said Crutcher didn’t obey her commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his SUV for what she thought was a gun. Crutcher was unarmed.

Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted. They noted Crutcher had his hands in the air and wasn’t combative — part of which was confirmed by police video taken from a dashboard camera and helicopter that showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby, hands held above his head.

Shelby’s attorneys argued that in the two minutes before cameras began recording the encounter, Shelby repeatedly ordered Crutcher to stop walking away from her and get on the ground.

Shelby also said she feared Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known as Angel Dust that makes users erratic, unpredictable, and combative.

An autopsy showed PCP was in Crutcher’s system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV.

Crutcher’s family said police attempted to ‘‘demonize’’ Crutcher over the drug possession to deflect attention from the fact that he wasn’t armed. Radio chatter that captured moments before the shooting included an officer saying Crutcher looked ‘‘like a bad dude’’ who ‘‘could be on something.’’ The statements outraged Crutcher’s family, who said they indicated racial bias.

Related: Night of the Iguana

The killing of Crutcher, 40, was among a spate of officer-involved shootings in recent years that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and prompted calls for more police accountability.

Tulsa has a long history of troubled race relations dating to a 1921 race riot that left about 300 black residents dead. In 2015, a poorly trained white volunteer deputy, Robert Bates, shot and killed a black man after Bates said he mistakenly reached for his gun rather than a Taser. A Tulsa jury convicted Bates, who was 74, of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to four years in prison.

See: Oklahoma!

That prompted a cry for body cameras.

Shelby was charged six days after Crutcher was killed. Defense attorney Shannon McMurray argued that prosecutors rushed to charge Shelby for political reasons, fearing unrest like the angry street protests that erupted in Charlotte, N.C., after the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott four days after Crutcher was killed. The reaction in Tulsa was more muted, with protests but no violence....


The decision shook Oklahomans and the repercussions haven't stopped.

Let's take a loot at the reports:

"Man who was fatally shot by Tulsa police had no gun, chief says" by Justin Juozapavicius Associated Press  September 19, 2016

TULSA, Okla. — An unarmed black man fatally shot by a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, officer responding to a stalled vehicle last week can be seen in police dashcam video walking toward his SUV with his hands up and officers following behind him before he’s shocked with a stun gun and then fatally shot.

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan announced Monday before the department released the shooting footage that 40-year-old Terence Crutcher had no weapon on him or in his SUV. Police said local and federal investigators are looking into Friday’s shooting to determine whether there should be criminal charges or if Crutcher’s civil rights were violated.

‘‘We will achieve justice in this case,’’ Jordan said.

Globe's web version let the tape run:

The police video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV with his hands up and a female officer following him. The vehicle is stopped in the middle of the road. As Crutcher approaches the SUV, three male officers walk up and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle. The officers surround him, making it harder to see his actions from the police dashboard camera’s angle.

Crutcher can be seen dropping to the ground. Someone on the police radio says, ‘‘I think he may have just been Tasered.’’ One of the officers near Crutcher backs up slightly.

Then almost immediately, someone can be heard saying, ‘‘Shots fired.’’ Crutcher’s head then drops, leaving him lying completely out in the street.

After that a voice can be heard on the police radio saying, ‘‘Shots fired. We have one suspect down.’’

Police have said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands. It’s not clear from watching the video what other orders officers might have given him.

‘‘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 Crutcher’s family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held.

U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said the Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the shooting will be separate from a local one into whether criminal charges should be filed.

‘‘The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of force by law enforcement officers and will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated,’’ he said.

Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell said authorities showed Crutcher’s family members the video and audio recordings ahead of their release to the public ‘‘so they wouldn’t be blindsided by it.’’

‘‘We wanted to be able to have that intimate time with them, with their attorney, to see if they had any questions or concerns,’’ Tuell said. ‘‘With something of this magnitude, we’re trying an approach that we believe is necessary to further that transparency.’’

About a dozen protesters gathered Monday morning outside the Tulsa County courthouse waving signs that read, ‘‘This Stops Now’’ and ‘‘Not Going, Keep Protesting.’’ They also chanted, ‘‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’’

Tulsa resident Mark Whited, who was among the protesters, said more should be done to ‘‘bridge the mistrusts’’ between police and citizens.

Police said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. They said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist.

Tulsa officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher, police said. Turnbough also is white. Shelby, who was placed on paid leave, was hired in December 2011, while Turnbough was hired in January 2009, police said.


"Lawyer for officer in Tulsa shooting claims driver ignored commands" by Justin Juozapavicius and Sean Murphy Associated Press  September 20, 2016

TULSA, Okla. — Investigators found the drug PCP in the vehicle of an unarmed black man fatally shot by a white officer, according to Oklahoma police, but attorneys for the slain man’s family say discussion of drugs distracts from questions about the use of deadly force.

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Friday after responding to a report of a stalled vehicle. Sergeant Shane Tuell said Tuesday that Shelby had a stun gun at the time of the shooting but did not use it. Officer Tyler Turnbough, who is also white, used a stun gun on Crutcher, police said.

Two 911 calls described an SUV that had been abandoned in the middle of the road. One unidentified caller said the driver was acting strangely, adding, ‘‘I think he’s smoking something.’’ Oklahoma prison officials said Tuesday that Crutcher served four years in prison on a drug conviction from 2007 to 2011.

But Damario Solomon-Simmons, another attorney for Crutcher’s family, said Shelby and other officers had no way of knowing about Crutcher’s background or the potential for drugs in his vehicle when they approached him Friday.

‘‘It’s undisputed that the officers on the scene had no idea what may be in Terence’s car,’’ Solomon-Simmons said. ‘‘At that particular moment that he was shot, he was not a suspect for any crime. Period.’’

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Monday that Crutcher had no weapon on him or in his SUV when he was shot. It’s not clear from dashcam and aerial footage what led Shelby to draw her gun or what orders officers gave Crutcher.

Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, said Crutcher was not following the officers’ commands and that Shelby was concerned because he kept reaching for his pocket as if he was carrying a weapon.

‘‘He has his hands up and is facing the car and looks at Shelby, and his left hand goes through the car window, and that’s when she fired her shot,’’ Wood told the Tulsa World.

But attorneys for Crutcher’s family challenged that statement Tuesday, presenting an enlarged photo from the police footage that appeared to show that Crutcher’s window was rolled up.

You know, it would be helpful if cops didn't engage in knee-jerk cover-ups and lie at the beginning of investigations -- but they always do.

Local and federal investigations are underway to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in the shooting or if Crutcher’s civil rights were violated.

Police helicopter footage was among several clips released Monday that show the shooting and aftermath. A man in the helicopter that arrives above the scene as Crutcher walks to the vehicle can be heard saying ‘‘time for a Taser’’ and then: ‘‘That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.’’

Betty Shelby’s mother-in-law, Lois Shelby, said the officer is grieving for Crutcher’s family and isn’t prejudiced. She told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday that Shelby ‘‘thought she had to protect her own life’’ when she shot Crutcher.

‘‘She wouldn’t harm anyone; we’re all sick. We feel for the [Crutcher] family,’’ Lois Shelby said. ‘‘But, you know, we have a family that goes out every day and faces life and death. And when she is being accused of things she didn’t do wrong, it’s too much, and they don’t think about our family.’’

Well, you didn't just lose a member, either.

Police video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV that is stopped in the middle of the road. His hands are up and a female officer is following him. As Crutcher approaches the driver’s side of the SUV, more officers arrive and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle before the officers surround him.

Crutcher can be seen dropping to the ground. Someone on the police radio says, ‘‘I think he may have just been tasered.’’ Then almost immediately, someone can be heard yelling, ‘‘Shots fired!’’ and Crutcher is left lying in the street.

Shelby’s attorney, Wood, said Turnbough fired the stun gun at the same time Shelby opened fire because both perceived a threat.

Imagine if everyone felt that way just going through everyday life while doing their job. 

The shooting comes four months after ex-Tulsa County volunteer deputy Robert Bates was sentenced to four years in prison on a second-degree manslaughter conviction in an unarmed black man’s 2015 death.


Also see:

"The swift action in Tulsa stood in contrast to Charlotte, N.C., where police refused under mounting pressure Thursday to release video of the shooting of a black man this week and the National Guard was called in to try to a head off a third night of violence. Protests in Tulsa since Crutcher’s death have been consistently peaceful...."

The affidavit says Shelby told investigators ‘‘she was in fear for her life and thought Mr. Crutcher was going to kill her,’’ while the family's lawyer is saying she became emotional (seems a bit sexist, doesn't it?).

It was also an emotional funeral.


The North Carolina connection:

Police try to quell anger after shooting triggers unrest
N.C. governor declares emergency in Charlotte
By sunrise, Charlotte protests over police shooting calm down
3rd night of Charlotte protests stays largely peaceful
Protests peaceful outside Charlotte stadium

I initially believed this might have been a staged and scripted instance in an attempt to motivate minority voters in North Carolina for the November election. If you remember, Clinton was pressing hard on the mid-Atlantic coast while ignoring and taking for granted the Rust Belt that was her demise.

Video shows man’s wife pleading with Charlotte police

Experts are saying the video also indicates brain damage.

Body camera rules questioned after Charlotte police killings As police initiated tougher rules on marchers who have been protesting and a new state law will make it much more difficult for such footage to become public.


Oh, yeah, no charges filed.

Also see:

Judge: Release video in Charlotte police shooting of suspect Michael Laney, a 28-year-old black man, was killed by police on July 2, 2012. Family and police give conflicting accounts of what happened, and a prosecutor ruled that white Officer Anthony Holzhauer was justified in the shooting.

Girl slammed to ground was trying to break up fight

Some cops take their job waaaaay toooo seriously.

"A North Carolina state trooper shot and killed an armed man during a search and rescue operation, authorities said Tuesday. The US death toll from Hurricane Matthew rose to 30 and the full extent of the disaster was still unclear, but...."

Everything is returning to normal, and I'm sure the lawsuits will be settled like in New Orleans. If not, I'm sure the feds will come down, get involved, and make everything right. It won't be fun, but....

"R.I. authorities arrest fugitive accused of killing N.C. police officer" by Dylan McGuinness Globe Correspondent  September 14, 2016

Federal, state, and local authorities Wednesday morning arrested a fugitive in Coventry, R.I., who allegedly shot and killed a police officer Saturday in Shelby, N.C., officials said.

It's a growing problem as the murder rates rise.

Authorities launched a nationwide manhunt for Irving Fenner, 23, who had arrest warrants for robbery and kidnapping charges, and learned that his half-sister, Jolisa Peeler, had driven to North Carolina and brought Fenner back to her Providence apartment, Rhode Island State Police Major Joseph Philbin said.

On Tuesday evening, the Rhode Island SWAT team, FBI agents, and Providence police officers raided an apartment at 150 Oxford St., but Fenner was not there, authorities said. After obtaining more information, investigators went to a Coventry apartment, where they were able to take Fenner into custody peacefully around 2 a.m., State Police said.

Corry Peeler, 39, Fenner’s uncle, and Corry Peeler’s girlfriend, Hope Wyman, 39, were arrested for harboring a fugitive in their apartment, State Police said....

You are either with us or against us.


Should have went to Vegas instead.

"Police: Mixed martial arts chokehold used on man who died" Associated Press  May 19, 2017

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas police officer used a stun gun seven times and a mixed martial arts chokehold to subdue an unarmed man who died after a foot chase in a casino, authorities said.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill showed video from Officer Kenneth Lopera’s body camera during a news conference on the incident. Police posted video of the news conference including edited body camera and Venetian security footage to the Internet.

Lopera is white, and Brown is black. Sheriff Joe Lombardo said there was no indication that race played a role in the incident. McMahill said also that the driver of the pickup didn’t think Brown was trying to carjack his vehicle, and that Brown was not believed to have committed any crime....

Brown who?


Back to Oklahoma:

"Southwest Airlines worker dead in Oklahoma airport shooting" by SEAN MURPHY Associated Press  November 16, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Southwest Airlines employee was shot outside Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday and died after police closed the sprawling complex to search for his killer.

Oklahoma City police said a suspect was found dead in a pickup truck in an airport parking garage.

Police Captain Paco Balderrama said the suspect appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The airport handles between 7,000 and 8,000 passengers daily for Alaska, Delta, Southwest, and United airlines and has a separate terminal that serves as a transfer center for federal inmates.

Video from a television station helicopter showed what appeared to be a pool of blood about 100 feet from the airport’s employee parking area, and about 100 yards from the airport’s ticket counters and departure area.

Balderrama initially said police had received reports of a possible second victim, but no one had been located by late afternoon.

Police believed that the shooting was an isolated incident.

No other details of the shooting were immediately available....


"Police: Airport shooting likely case of workplace revenge" by TIM TALLEY Associated Press  November 17, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY — A man who gunned down a Southwest Airlines employee outside of Oklahoma City’s airport likely did so in retaliation for having lost his own job with the airline last year, police said Wednesday.

Lloyd Dean Buie, 45, killed 52-year-old Michael Winchester on Tuesday as Winchester was leaving work and walking to an employee parking lot, police Capain Paco Balderrama said at a news conference. Buie fired the shot from the fourth floor of a parking garage when Winchester was about 50 yards away, he said. Buie was later found dead in his pickup truck in the garage. Police think he shot himself.

‘‘We know his intention was to go to the airport to hurt someone,’’ Balderrama said. ‘‘The suspect knew where the employees parked and where they would be walking.’’

Buie quit his job as a ramp agent for Southwest in April 2015 after he refused to take an alcohol screening, airline spokeswoman Brandy King said Wednesday. She said co-workers had suspected Buie was drinking at work, but she declined to say if Winchester, a ramp supervisor who had worked for Southwest for 29 years, was involved.

‘‘Our Southwest family is grieving, as we are deeply saddened by the loss of our family member,’’ King said.



"Authorities were hunting for a man suspected of killing his aunt and uncle, shooting two police officers, stealing a patrol car, and carjacking other vehicles in a violent rampage in the Oklahoma City area, all while apparently taunting law enforcement via social media..... Authorities have been hunting for more than 24 hours for an Oklahoma man they say posted live videos to social media while running from police during a violent rampage that included shooting two police officers, armed car thefts, and killing his aunt and uncle, apparently attempting to cut off their heads. Michael Dale Vance Jr., a 38-year-old from Chandler, Okla., is wanted...." 

A prelude to that Cleveland thing and excuse that will justify shutting down the web?

RelatedOklahoma gun battle ends with fugitive dead

They found him after a tip from a farmer, and in a way you can say he got life.

Also seeOklahoma City firefighters rescue cow stuck in swimming pool