The weekend after Tulsa, Okla., Police Officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Terence Crutcher, people gathered for rallies in Oklahoma City on two separate days to say “Black lives matter.”
One group marched through downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday, and another gathered outside Oklahoma City police headquarters Sunday, Fox 25 reports, and both groups said they were following calls to action after the controversial trial came to an end Wednesday.
“We’re hoping to avoid or prevent an instance of the tragedy that occurred [in Tulsa] with the loss of life of Mr. Terence Crutcher,” the Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson told Fox 25. “We’re trying to make sure that no other children go without their parent, that parents aren’t having to bury their children—their sons and their daughters—and that communities aren’t trying to figure out how to heal.”
As previously reported by The Root, Crutcher was killed by Shelby in September 2016. Both dashcam footage and helicopter footage showed that Crutcher, a 40-year-old black man, had his hands in the air and was unarmed when he was shot by the white police officer.
Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie said that officers were responding to reports of a stalled vehicle and that Crutcher failed to follow repeated commands by officers to put his hands up.
“He refused to follow commands given by the officers,” MacKenzie said. “They continued to talk to him; he continued not to listen and follow any commands. As they got closer to the vehicle, he reached inside the vehicle, and at that time, there was a Taser deployment, and a short time later, there was one shot fired.”
However, in video footage, Crutcher appears to be walking toward his vehicle with his arms in the air. He is first hit with a Taser blast by Officer Tyler Turnbough, and then, a few seconds later, he is shot at close range by Shelby. At no point does it appear that he made any sudden movements before being shot.
Dickerson told Fox 25 the rallies were ways to mourn Crutcher but also to find allies in the Black Lives Matter cause and figure out what changes need to be made in communities.
Former state Sen. Connie Johnson, who is now running for governor of Oklahoma, told demonstrators she believes there should be lessons during driver’s education about how to act during a police stop.
“But on the other side of that equation is what should police be trained to do that is culturally competent when they have an encounter,” Johnson said.
Read more at Fox 25.