Anna wouldn’t give her full name. She’s 18. She works in a fast-food restaurant. She lives in north Tulsa.
Over the weekend, her mother had told her about the fatal police shooting of Terence Crutcher. Told her it was bad. Sad.
Then Anna — like so many other Tulsans on Monday — saw the shooting with her own eyes after the Tulsa Police Department released dash cam and helicopter images from the incident.
“Horrible,” she said. “Wow. Wow.”
Anna doesn’t believe the Police Department is telling the public everything it knows.
“I think they’re actually protecting the police officer who actually did it,” she said.
She doesn’t understand why a man with his hands up in the air couldn’t have been detained without killing him.
“They (the police) went way overboard,” she said. “They didn’t even like give him the full benefit. If he had a gun or knife or something, I can understand that, but he had nothing whatsoever.”
“In my opinion, it looked like he was deliberately killed.”
Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed by Officer Betty Shelby after police received two 911 calls regarding an SUV idling in the middle of 36th Street North on the west of Lewis Avenue. One caller states that the vehicle’s doors are open and that Crutcher had run away from the vehicle after saying he believed it was going to blow up.
“I think he’s smoking something,” the caller says.
In the dispatch recording, also released Monday, a voice that is apparently Shelby’s can be heard saying: “Got a subject who won’t show me his hands.”
Police have acknowledged that Crucher was not carrying a weapon, nor was one found in his vehicle.
It’s a story that is still unraveling. At a press conference Monday afternoon, the media heard from Mayor Dewey Bartlett as well as Police Chief Chuck Jordan and other law-enforcement officials.
Bartlett insisted justice would be served, but none of the officials would answer questions related to the shooting, saying they were prohibited from doing so because the investigation is ongoing.
So Monday people talked about what they could see on the videos, and in north Tulsa, the talk wasn’t good.
Dylan Henry, 46, and Tony Gibbs, 42, sat down for lunch at Sweet Lisa’s at the corner of north Lansing Avenue and Pine Street just after the videos and audio tapes of the incident were released.
Like several people interviewed by The Frontier on Monday, Henry and Gibbs said they knew Crutcher, and liked him.
He wasn’t a “bad dude” as he was described by an officer in the police helicopter Friday night, they said.
“The reason I say that was too much, I have a have son who is 25,” Henry said. “He is a big guy and when I say a big guy, I mean he is like 390 (pounds) 6 foot 1. My father was a big guy. …
“You shouldn’t judge a person that way, I’m sorry. … Just because they’re big doesn’t mean they’re tough. I just feel that is wrong. You never know, you never know.”
Gibbs said there has to be consequences for Friday’s shooting.
“If they don’t find a gun and they don’t find no drugs in his system, somebody’s got to answer to that,” Gibbs said. “That man can’t die senseless.”
Sam Mingo was walking into the Hutcherson YMCA, 1120 Pine St., when asked about the Crutcher shooting. He hadn’t seen the video, but he’d heard about it. And he’d heard about the remark made from the police helicopter.
“The man had his hands up and was addressing himself in a peaceful manner,” Mingo said. “I think they made the attitude of this being a big dude, and that triggered a thought process.”
That was a recurring theme Monday — that police have an impression of the people who live in north Tulsa, and it’s not a good one. That explains the talk in the police helicopter and the overwhelming response to what was essentially less than a traffic stop, according to many interviewed by The Frontier on Monday.
“It is the same stereotypical profiling thing that has been done about our people for a long time,” said O.J. Hawkins with killracismnotme.com, who, with colleague, Cleo Harris, runs a T-shirt ministry on Peoria Avenue just north of Pine Street. “You know, I am a huge guy, you know, but I am a man, like other men. And until the police see us as men and stop stereotyping us and profiling us, we’re going to keep getting killed.”
Across the street at a McDonald’s, Michelle Bradshaw pulled up the police videos on her iPhone to show them to a few older gentleman who’d heard about the shooting but not seen it. She said incidents like the Friday night shooting occur all too often in her part of town — and that that affects how she relates to law enforcement.
“I try to avoid them,” she said. “You have some good officers out there and you got bad officers. I don’t like police officers. I don’t like firemen. I don’t like nobody. I protect my own.”
And then there was Verda Cartwright. She’s 71. She was eating at Sweet Lisa’s, too. She counts her blessings every day she’s able to get up and enjoy another day. She’ll be glad, she said, when officials get to the bottom of what really happened.
“It’s just a very unfortunate thing,” she said.