(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 9/20/2016) – The Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on state officials to ensure a fair and transparent investigation into the police shooting death of Terence Crutcher, and welcomed the U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation into the shooting.
Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old father of three, was fatally shot by a Tulsa Police officer on Friday after his vehicle broke down on two-lane highway in North Tulsa. Videos taken by dashboard cameras and by police helicopters show Crutcher raising his hands, walking toward his stopped SUV, and leaning against his vehicle. Although the view from both cameras is obstructed in the moments leading up to the shooting, there was no weapon found in the vehicle and multiple reports show that Crutcher was struck with a Taser before the officer fired the fatal shot.
SEE: Tulsa Police Say Man Had No Gun; Video Shows He Had Hands Up
SEE: Tulsa Police Shooting Investigated by Justice Department
“We welcome the federal investigation into the shooting of Terence Crutcher and hope that his family will find justice and closure,” said Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “We hope this disturbing case galvanizes a conversation about the issues surrounding similar incidents, including responsible policing, racial profiling and police transparency.”
Audio from the recordings depicts an unidentified officer saying “time for a Taser” as Crutcher walks to the vehicle, and then saying, “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.” Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan admits that the video is “very disturbing and difficult to watch.”
“The death of Terence Crutcher comes at a time when our community is still reeling from the death of Khalid Jabara, whose killing also raised questions about the justice system. We stand in solidarity and love with the black community of Tulsa and Oklahoma in this time of grieving,” said Operations and Events Coordinator Anna Facci.
“Oklahoma is at the center of an epidemic of police violence in America. More than one-quarter of the Oklahoma Muslim community are black. We cannot and will not overlook the interlocking struggle of all minority communities.”
Video: CNN International Interviews CAIR-OK Rep About Alleged Hate Crime Murder of Arab-American
Crutcher’s shooting comes four months after former Tulsa volunteer deputy Robert Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, an unarmed black man, in April 2015. The shooting also comes less than a year after former Oklahoma City Police officer Daniel Hotlzclaw was sentenced to more than 250 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of primarily black women over the course of three years.
Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest rates of police killings in the nation, the victims of which are most likely to be some combination of poor, mentally ill, black, or Native American. Nationally, two-thirds of unarmed victims of police shootings are Black American.
SEE: Former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates sentenced to four years in prison for death of Eric Harris
SEE: Ex-Oklahoma City Cop spending 263 years in prison for rape
SEE: The Counted: People killed by police in the US
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR Oklahoma Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Oklahoma Operations and Events Coordinator Anna Facci, 918-269-7924, email@example.com, CAIR Oklahoma Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, firstname.lastname@example.org.