Over the past few days, the country has been rocked by yet another caught-on-video shooting of an unarmed black man, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The shooting of 40 year-old Terence Crutcher occurred on Friday, but it wasn’t until the Monday release of police video showing Crutcher with his hands in the air that the incident swept into the national spotlight.
Crutcher was shot Friday afternoon when police arrived to respond tocalls about a disabled vehicle blocking the roadway. Officer Betty Shelby, the officer who shot Crutcher, radioed that he wouldn’t “show me his hands,” but video released Monday clearly shows that not to be the case:
Officer Shelby later claimed that Mr. Crutcher reached inside the window of his SUV, which appears to be completely closed. Helicopter video of the incident also reveals officers speculating that Mr. Crutchwe is a “bad dude” and might be “on something,” and are somehow able to divine that he’s “not following commands”:
Hillary Clinton has made racial justice a focus of her policy agendasince before America had ever heard of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, right up through the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where “Mothers of the Movement” Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucia McBath and Sybrina Fulton – the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis – spoke out for Hillary’s candidacy. On Tuesday, Hillary continued that focus with a blistering statement on the shooting of Mr. Crutcher that was unsparing in its identification of the problem:
In Tulsa, an unarmed man with his hands in the air? I mean, this is just unbearable, and it needs to be intolerable. And so maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, look, this is not who we are. We’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. There are good, honorable, cool-headed police officers. We have seen them in action in New York over the last 48 hours because of the terrorist attacks. We can do better. We have got to rein in what is absolutely inexplicable. And we have got to have law enforcement respect communities and communities respect law enforcement because they have to work together.
Secretary Clinton’s remarks Tuesday reflect a commitment to racial justice and accountability that has not wavered this entire campaign, and has gone almost completely unanswered by her opponent Donald Trump, who just denies that systemic police racism exists:
And that was at Trump’s big “Black Outreach” rollout speech.
Trump has yet to react to this shooting specifically, but Indiana Governor and Trump running-mate Mike Pence parroted Trump’s denial of implicit bias in an interview with Brian Williams Tuesday night, and called what happened to Mr. Crutcher a “mistake.”
For a campaign that’s trying to panic its mostly-white supporters over a bowl of Skittles that won’t hurt anyone, they’re awfully cavalier about something that happens to black people with stunning, and yes, unbearable, regularity.Maybe Trump would feel differently if we just called this by some magical name, like “Radical Police Terrorism,” but even then, it’s not like we can build walls to keep the police out, or ban police temporarily, until we figure this out. Black people need police to protect them, just like other people do, and the spot they’re in is complicated by the fact that they’re in the minority. Black Americans are, to a large degree, depending on their lives mattering enough to the rest of us to demand the sort of accountability that will change this.