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Tulsa Cop Who Shot Terrence Crutcher Charged With Manslaughter and Arrested

Wow! That was quick.

Tulsa officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher charged with first-degree manslaughter

The white Tulsa, Okla., police officer captured on video fatally shooting an unarmed black man on a city street will face first-degree manslaughter charges, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced at a news conference.

The prosecutor filed the charges against officer Betty Shelby on Thursday, a full six days after multiple cameras showed her shooting 40-year-old Terence Crutcher as he stood beside his  stalled sport-utility vehicle. Moments earlier, cameras had captured Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his hands in the air.

“The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Crutcher are on the hearts and minds of many people in this community,” he said, according to NBC affiliate KJRH. “It’s important to note that despite the heightened tensions felt by all, which seemingly beg for an emotional response and reaction, our community has consistently demonstrated the willingness to respect the judicial process.”

“I do not know why things happen in this world the way they do,” Kunzweiler added. “We need to pray for wisdom and guidance.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement saying she hopes the charges provide “some peace to the Crutcher family and the people of Tulsa.” The statement also urges the public to remain patient and remember that officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.

“No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death,” the statement added.

Video shows Crutcher walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head while several officers follow closely behind him with weapons raised. He lingers at his vehicle’s driver’s side window, his body facing the SUV, before slumping to the ground a second later.

“Shots fired!” a female voice can be heard yelling.

Tulsa police say Crutcher did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle.

After Crutcher is hit, footage shows his limp body lying on the roadway beside his vehicle. Officers appear to wait more than 2½ minutes before approaching Crutcher while he bleeds in the street.

The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window.

Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, told the Tulsa World that Shelby opened fire and another officer used a stun gun when Crutcher’s “left hand goes through the car window.”

Wood told told the Tulsa World earlier in the week that when his client arrived at the scene, several minutes before the camera footage begins, she found Crutcher’s vehicle in the middle of the road with the engine on and the doors open. Shelby, he said, wasn’t “really sure what [was] going on,” Wood said.

Shelby thought Crutcher was behaving like someone under the possible influence of PCP, Wood told the World, noting that Crutcher ignored the officer’s commands to stop reaching into his pockets. Shelby feared Crutcher might have a gun in his pocket, because people carrying weapons repeatedly touch their pockets to confirm the weapon is still there, Wood added.

Shelby, he said, had already checked the driver’s side of the SUV when Crutcher approached her from the east. At that point, the attorney said, a backup officer arrived and drew his stun gun. Wood said the stun gun and service weapon were fired simultaneously.

Police told the Associated Press that Shelby had a stun gun but did not use it.

A warrant has been issued for Shelby’s arrest, Kunzweiler said Thursday, and arrangements were being made with her lawyer for her surrender to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department. Shelby, who was hired in 2011, had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Another Cop Murder of a Mentally Ill Black Man in Sacramento

Mentally ill man. With knife, and a gun invisible to everyone except the Cops. These Sacramento Cops are in no danger – and make no effort whatsoever to try and deescalate the situation or to bring the victim down by less lethal means.

 

The surveillance video obtained by The Bee shows Mann running from police as officers converge on him. They are still some distance away when he turns to face them and raises and lowers his arm three times. It’s not clear from the video what – if anything – he is holding. Two officers then fire a barrage of shots. Mann crumples to the ground. Officers approach him, and at least two of them appear to nudge him with their feet.

Witnesses said they called police after seeing Mann urinate on himself and tap at an imaginary keyboard on a residential street in North Sacramento. Witnesses also said he was tossing a knife in the air, catching it by the handle. The knife had a 4-inch blade, according to a police official.

When police arrived, a cruiser began following Mann as he made his way off the side street and onto Del Paso Boulevard.

Police were yelling at Mann to drop the knife, and Mann was yelling threats back at the officers, according to witnesses.

Mann then ran across Del Paso Boulevard, performing karate-type moves. More officers arrived, and Mann ran toward an “officer’s vehicle with a knife held above his head,” according to a police news release.

“The subject turned back towards them, armed with a knife. Fearing for their lives and the safety of the community, two officers discharged their firearms striking the man multiple times,” according to the news release.

Officers fired 18 rounds, hitting Mann 14 times, Somers said.

Sacramento cops kill mentally ill black man with 14 shots for ‘gesturing’ at them

The family of a mentally ill black man seeks justice after Sacramento police finally showed them video of officers gunning down 50-year-old Joseph Mann during a foot chase in July.

Mann’s family has been asking to see video evidence of the shooting captured by a surveillance cameras, and now that they’ve seen it — they have even more questions,reported KOVR-TV.

The videos show officers open fire on Mann after he stops running, apparently out of breath, and raises a knife toward them standing at least 10 feet away.

Police were called July 11 to North Sacramento, where two 911 callers reported that Mann had a knife and a gun and was acting erratically, although the second caller admitted she did not see the gun herself.

Investigators never found a gun after Mann was fatally shot during the confrontation.

Witnesses said they saw Mann urinate on himself and then begin tapping on an imaginary keyboard, and they called police after seeing him toss a 4-inch knife into the air and catch it by the handle, reported the Sacramento Bee.

A patrol car followed Mann down the street as officers ordered him to drop the knife, but they said he shouted threats at police and then performed karate-style moves.

Police said Mann then charged the patrol car with the knife held above his head, and officers, “fearing for their lives and the safety of the community,” fired 18 rounds at the man, striking him 14 times.

Mann’s family faulted police for failing to de-escalate the 11-minute encounter with a mentally ill suspect.

“For them to just get out they cars and start shooting my brother, you know, being judge, jury and God — it’s just not right,” said Robert Mann, the slain man’s brother.

The family’s attorney said dashboard camera video shows Mann was not as much of a threat to officers as police have said, and the surveillance video shows he was several feet away from the police who opened fire on him.

“He was gesturing and pointing,” said attorney John Burris. “He was not lunging or charging, so from a police point of view, they should not have used deadly force at that time. They were in a position of safety. They could have remained in a position of safety.”

Mann’s family wants the officers involved in the fatal shooting to be fired immediately and prosecuted.

They have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and a claim against the city charging that officers “confronted and aggressively pursued” Mann before fatally shooting him.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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On Charlotte – And the Latest Shooting By Police of a Black Man

By now, I am sure many of my readers have heard about the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott – who the Police claimed had a gun.

The reason I don’t believe the Police story is this – Keith Lamont Scott had a child in Day Care in the building adjacent to where he was parked. He regularly picked the child up there on his way home. He had been seen there by numerous witnesses previously, sitting in his car waiting for the the children to be released, often reading a book. At least one witness claims that was just what he was doing on the afternoon when Police mistook him for another man they were looking for for a crime…And shot him.

I just don’t see a Dad, waiting for his kid either 1) wanting to start gunfire around his child, or  2) Carrying a gun to the daycare center. And if the guy isn’t guilty of any crime…

Like previous instances where the Police story doesn’t match reality, suddenly the Police Car Dash cameras, and body cameras weren’t working.

Another bad Cop…Another murder in my view.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Another Cop Murder of An Unarmed Black Man in Tulsa

Here we go again…Another BS situation…Another cop murder of a unarmed innocent man.

 

Oklahoma Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Black Man In Alarming Video

The man appears to be walking with his hands above his head.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, police department on Monday released several videos showing last week’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white female officer.

Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed Friday after officers responding to an unrelated call spotted his vehicle stalled in the middle of the roadway, Tulsa World reports. The police department earlier said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands, but the footage appears to show him walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head.

The officer who fired the fatal shot has been identified as Betty Shelby. A second officer, Tyler Turnbough, deployed a stun gun, the Associated Press reports.

During a press conference on Monday, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan called the video footage “very disturbing — it’s very difficult to watch.” He said there was no gun found on Crutcher or in his vehicle.

“I will just make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said. “I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this: We will achieve justice ― period.”

At a separate news conference, Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for Crutcher’s family, said the department’s claim that Crutcher died at the hospital was not true.

“Terence died on that street in his own blood, without any help,” the lawyer said.

“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon,” Solomon-Simmons said. “We saw that Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent. We did not see Terence reach into the car. We did not see Terence attacking the officers.”

As seen in the video, more than two minutes go by before officers begin administering aid to Crutcher after he was shot.

The police chief said an investigation of the incident is ongoing. The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a separate civil rights inquiry into the shooting, AP reports.

Protests are not a problem,” Jordan said on Monday, but he urged the community to stay peaceful

“Let’s not have any more death over this,” he said.

So far in 2016, 19 people have been killed by police officers in Oklahoma, giving the state the sixth highest per-capita rate of killings by police in the U.S, according to statistics compiled by The Guardian. Last year, Oklahoma ranked No. 4 per capita with 37 killings, the Guardian data showed.

In April, Robert Bates, a former volunteer reserve Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy, was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter for the 2015 shooting death of Eric Harris, another unarmed black man.

Like many other states, Oklahoma has a disproportionately high rate of black people being killed by police, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Federal Judge – “Black Lives Matter”

Gaining traction against the intractable…

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Federal Judge Declares “Black Lives Matter” From the Bench

U.S. District Judge James Robart held a dramatic hearing on Monday that began with a fierce rebuke of the Seattle police union’s refusal to address unconstitutional policing and closed with a declaration from the bench that “black lives matter.” Robart’s comment marks the first time a sitting federal judge has explicitly cited the nascent civil rights movement, though Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor hasechoed its calls to end police brutality and validated the demands for police reform.

Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, is presiding over a consent decree—a court-ordered settlement—between the Justice Department and Seattle reached in 2012. That agreement required the city to remedy unconstitutional practices at nearly every level of policing, from illegal stops to unreasonable and deadly use of force. Since then, Seattle’s chief of police Kathleen O’Toole has pushed the police force to adopt innovative and successful trainings on crisis intervention and bias-free policing. But further reforms are necessary to fulfill the consent decree’s requirements—and the police union has tethered its adoption of these reforms to pay raises and benefit increases.

In order to fulfill its legal obligation, Seattle attempted to reach a compromise with the police union this summer, offering a new contract that mixed the requisite reforms with wage hikes. The union overwhelmingly rejected the contract on the grounds that it did not sufficiently reward officers with more money and benefits in exchange for engaging in constitutional policing. According to the Seattle Times, it was this repudiation that pushed Robart to speak out so forcefully. In particular, the union appears resistant to adopt new standards and procedures regarding officer discipline and internal investigations, which Robart insists are vital to any sufficient reform.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits,” Robart said during Monday’s hearing. “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”

After scolding the recalcitrant union, Robart noted that, nationwide, blacks represent 41 percent of police shooting victims—but only 20 percent of the overall population. He then said from the bench: “Black lives matter.” The remark drew an audible reaction from the audience.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Implicit Bias – Training Law Enforcement to Be Less Racist

Since the early 90’s when books by Dinesh D’Souza and Jared Taylor hit conservative bookshelves, racism, and the pseudo science behind it have gone mainstream in the conservative world. Fox News picked up and found serial racism was profitable. It is safe to say than anyone you meet who watches Faux more than an hour a day…

Is a racist.

Faux News talking heads like Sean Hannity have built their entire careers around defending, encouraging, and promoting racism though implicit bias.

I think back a few weeks to the brother who murdered 5 Cops in Dallas. Stupid, stupid, stupid. First off, there was no evidence that any of the victims were either “bad cops” or criminal in any way. Killing the symptom, not the cause. If the brother was going to do some good in eradicating some of the racism in america – including the murder by cop of unarmed, innocent black men – he needed to shoot the hand behind the hand holding the gun. He needed to go to 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, and shoot the first 5 talking heads emerging out of limousines.

Especially if 2 or 3 of those were the incessant purveyors of implicit racism.

It simply isn’t going to stop until the purveyors of racist trash know there is a cost to it. All the nice training courses discussed below won’t do a damn thing.

It is sort of like alcohol addiction. Alcohol is one of the, if not the hardest drug to kick. The reason? I would say in most cities it would be hard to walk a block though a commercial section without seeing a bar, a restaurant that serves alcohol, signs promoting alcoholic beverages. Turn on the TV – happy people consuming alcohol. Go to ball game – signs for alcohol everywhere, and dozens of places selling beer on draft (heck – there are even guys who will bring beer to your seat). Alcohol consumption is part of our social fabric. We are bombarded with messages hundreds of times a day promoting alcohol consumption.

Faux News and other conservative outlets do the same thing for racism. A good portion of their programming is devoted to promoting and advancing racism in the form of implicit bias.

So if you want to kill the implicit bias beast – you need to a lot better than a 2 hour slide show.

Implicit bias training seeks to counter hidden prejudice in law enforcement

When the Justice Department released its report on the Baltimore Police Department last week, examples of racial bias were clear:

The police:

— employs “enforcement strategies on African Americans, leading to severe and unjustified racial disparities”

— “disproportionately searches African-Americans during stops,” yet illegal items were found twice as often on white individuals during vehicle stops and 50 percent more during pedestrian stops

— arrests black people five times more than others for drug possession, yet black drug use is about the same or only slightly higher.

What is not so clear is the unseen, but not unfelt, implicit bias that provides the foundation for racism.

Most people carry some implicit bias, which Justice defines as “the unconscious or subtle associations that individuals make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups.”

Justice and Baltimore agreed to reach a consent decree setting out needed reforms, including improved implicit bias training. At the same time, the Justice Department is launching a major effort for its own crew. All Justice law enforcement officers and prosecutors will undergo implicit bias training under a directive issued by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and backed by her boss, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

“We have been requiring implicit bias training in a lot of our consent decrees for local jurisdictions,” Lynch said in a brief interview following her appearance before a joint conference of the National Association of Black Journalists (disclosure: I am a member) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. “We really felt that if we were going to make that a prescription for local law enforcement, we should also be part of it.”

That means the department’s 23,000 law enforcement agents in four agencies and 5,800 lawyers are being trained in how to recognize implicit bias in their daily work.

Perhaps anticipating push back, Yate’s memo to staffers said “I know that your time is valuable, and that you already devote many hours to various training requirements, but I would not have asked you to take on this additional responsibility unless I and other Department leaders were convinced of its value.”

While the training will be geared to different elements in the department, all of it will begin with the science behind implicit bias, Yates said by telephone. “As you might expect, people can naturally start out a little defensive when they come into this kind of training.”

Yates, who has taken some training, said it’s important for employees to understand that implicit bias is distinct from explicit bias “and that it is something we all carry around unconsciously in one form or another.”

After the science, the training includes scenarios where implicit bias might kick in and strategies to counter it.

Strategies can include providing factual information to counter stereotypes. The Justice Department’s finding that contraband is found much more often among white folks, yet black people are stopped and searched at a higher rate is an example.

That information, perhaps, could have an impact on those who assume higher arrest rates mean black people are more criminally inclined. Studies have shown that black people are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than white people for similar offenses at every step of the process.

“What the science also shows is that the most important aspect of countering implicit bias is being aware that you have it to begin with,” Yates said. “Most people don’t really recognize that they are carrying around the bias, particularly people who believe themselves to be fair-thinking, non-prejudice folks.”

I wonder if that fits Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department lawyer.

He thinks the department is going “to spend a lot of taxpayer money on training for a nonexistent problem.” Despite science to the contrary, von Spakovsky said, unconvincingly, “these claims are based on very dubious, questionable studies…the bias I saw there when I worked in the (DOJ’s) Civil Rights Division was towards whites.”

Perhaps he should talk with Lenese Herbert, a Howard University law professor.

Implicit bias training “represents cutting-edge research,” she said, “that may be enlisted to eradicate the internationally embarrassing and domestically destabilizing scourge of officers killing unarmed Black people in extraordinarily disproportionate numbers and in the face of shockingly nonviolent resistance.”

 

 
 

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BLM Goes International – Protests in England

Not just in the US anymore…

Black Lives Matter Activists Stage Protests Across Britain

Black activists, responding to calls for a nationwide protest against racial injustice, staged demonstrations in London and several other cities across Britain on Friday, in their boldest show of support to date for the emerging Black Lives Matter movement here.

Black Lives Matter U.K. had called for a nationwide “shutdown” to protest an array of injustices, including police brutality; racial disparities in arrests, convictions and sentencing; the treatment of immigrants in detention; inadequate mental health services; and a reported increase in hate crimes since Britain’s decision, in a June 23 referendum, to leave the European Union.

“We are here because we have no choice,” Wail Qasim, an activist and journalist who took part in a protest near Heathrow Airport, which serves London, wrote on Twitter. “We are here because this is a crisis.”

The Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in the United States in 2013, has spread to several countries, including Britain, Canada and France.

On Friday morning, activists unfurled a giant banner and lay down on an access road near Heathrow, bringing traffic to a standstill for several hours. The police arrested 10 people.

Five more people were arrested in Birmingham, Britain’s second-most populous city, after blocking traffic leading to the airport. Four activists were arrested in Nottingham, a city of more than 300,000 in the Midlands, after protesters blocked trams and buses by lying down in front of the Theatre Royal.

The demonstrations were peaceful but powerful; in several cases, the authorities had to use special equipment to cut through the tubes the protesters had used to link their arms.

The demonstrations were timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary, on Thursday, of the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old unarmed black man, in the Tottenham section of London. His deathtouched off riots in poorer sections of the capital, as well as in cities including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.

In January 2014, an inquest jury found that the killing of Mr. Duggan had been justified, finding it more likely than not that he had tossed a firearm from a taxi shortly before he was shot. But in October, a judge granted Mr. Duggan’s family the right to appeal those findings.

The 2011 riots echoed disturbances that shook the Brixton neighborhood of London no fewer than three times — in 1981, 1985 and 1995 — in response to anger at police treatment of black residents…

 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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