May 212017
 

Betty Shelby Got Away With Murder

Even though we have seen the video of how the killing of 40-year-old, unarmed, African American, Terence Crutcher unfolded, white Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby was acquitted by a jury.

During the testimony, officer Shelby defended herself by saying that she shot Crutcher because he didn’t obey her command to lie on the ground and then reached inside his SUV for what she presumed was a gun.

The widely circulated video of the shooting tells a different story. Terence Crutcher – who as we now know was under the influence of drugs at the time – had both hands raised and was never threatening.

Officer Shelby was acquitted because, in the words of her defense attorney, “she just overreacted”.

In response to the acquittal, Rev. Joey Crutcher, Terence’s father said: “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.” Protesters took to the streets and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.” in front of the hotel where Shelby was staying. The crowd eventually disbursed, peacefully.

The killing of Terence Crutcher is one of several killings of unarmed African American men by police officers recently which inspired the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Oct 012016
 
Protests In El Cajon AND Pasadena

(Photo: NPR.org)

Just the other morning we’ve seen on the news a heartwarming story about a great Ohio police officer (white) who has stopped a motorist (African American) for speeding. Upon learning that the motorist was speeding because he’s just learned that his sister has died in an accident, the police officer took it upon himself to drive the grief-stricken driver to his destination. That’s “Serve and Protect” in action, that’s the police you can trust and call for help.

It was no “Serve and Protect” case in El Cajon, CA where a sister of a mentally disturbed man called 911 for help getting him off the street where he wandered into traffic. The police officers who responded to the call KNEW that the African American man was mentally disturbed and unarmed. It didn’t stop them from firing five rounds and killing 30 year old Alfred Olango. The community of El Cajon is outraged and protests continue.

Only a day later, on 09/30/16 Pasadena police responded to a call regarding a domestic disturbance. At the scene the police officers found 36 year old African American man, Reginald Thomas with a knife and fire distinguisher. The officers proceeded to restrain him (he was hogtied) and then tasered him repeatedly until the officers realized he was dying. At this point, the restraints were removed and the officers attempted to revive him. The efforts failed.

Thomas was a father of eight and expected a baby with his wife Shainie Lindsay. He was bipolar and in and out of residential treatment facilities. His wife made a statement to KTLA: “They know he is on Social Security, they know he is 5150. (A police code for a psychiatric patient) This is not the first run-in with him.”

Ironically, the initial call to the police was made by the victim requesting help. Reginald Thomas’ Pasadena neighborhood is holding protests against police brutality.

Police killings of mentally ill Americans (of any race!) are not uncommon. Clearly, police training comes short on preparing officers for dealing with people with mental illness. The perplexing question in the El Cajon and Pasadena cases is why police officers ALERTED to the fact that the “suspects” are mentally disturbed / mentally ill and unable to comply with commands, decided to kill them instead of safely apprehending them. Hundreds of years ago, game hunters shot “bullets” (small balls, really) filled with a net to restrain wild animals without injuring or killing them. Why can’t police officers?

 

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