A Tulsa police officer shot and killed an African American man who ignored repeated requests to put up his hands before reaching into an SUV that was stalled in the middle of a street, the police department said.
Terrence Crutcher, 40, died at the hospital where he was taken after he was shot by the officer at around 8pm on Friday, police said in a news release.
Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie earlier told reporters that two officers were walking toward the stalled SUV when Crutcher approached them from the side of the road.
“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.”
MacKenzie said that as of 9pm, police had not searched the SUV and did not know if there was a weapon inside.
MacKenzie did not immediately respond to phone messages left on Saturday seeking further information.
The officers’ names and races were not released. The one who shot Crutcher will be placed on leave, which is routine in cases of police-involved shootings. The county district attorney’s office will determine if the shooting was justified, MacKenzie said on Friday.
Online court records show Terrence Crutcher of Tulsa, with the same date of birth as the man who was shot, pleaded no contest in 1996 to carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer and was given a six-month suspended sentence. His only other court records were for traffic violations, the most recent occurring in 2005.
Tulsa police officers do not currently wear body cameras, although they were selected to receive a nearly $600,000 cash-match grant for them in 2015. MacKenzie said she believed the officers’ dashboard cameras might have captured video of the shooting.
In April, a white reserve Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting last year of an unarmed black suspect who was on the ground being restrained by officers. The deputy said he mistook his handgun for a stun gun.
The shooting led to an investigation that resulted in misdemeanor charges against the county sheriff, who resigned and later pleaded no contest to a charge of refusal to perform official duty and guilty to willful violation of the law.