Demonstrators rally in Oklahoma before funeral of black man shot by police

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2016 4:38 PM

By Kurt Steiss

TULSA, Okla. (Reuters) - Demonstrators in Oklahoma marched to the Tulsa County courthouse and rallied on Saturday afternoon before a funeral for the unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer after his car broke down and blocked a road.

Terence Crutcher, 40, was killed on Sept. 16. On Friday, the Tulsa police officer who shot him, Betty Shelby, was booked on a first degree manslaughter charge.

Crutcher's shooting and the fatal shooting of a black man earlier this week by a police officer in North Carolina are two of the latest officer-involved deaths to stoke concerns about biased policing in the United States.

In Tulsa, dozens of people gathered at the courthouse plaza for a rally organized by Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, the ACLU of Oklahoma, the NAACP and other groups. Crutcher's funeral is to be held Saturday night at Antioch Baptist Church in north Tulsa.

Tulsa police released two videos on Monday, one taken from a helicopter and the other from a dashboard camera in a patrol car, that show Crutcher, a Tulsa Community College student, holding his hands in the air shortly before he was shot in the chest.

An arrest affidavit said Shelby, 42, escalated the situation and overreacted. She was responding to a separate call for a domestic disturbance when she saw Crutcher in the road.

Shelby told investigators that Crutcher failed to comply with her instructions and she feared for her life, the affidavit said. Tulsa police said Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in the vehicle.

Shelby, who is free on bond, faces at least four years in prison if convicted of first degree manslaughter. Her attorney told local media she has been receiving death threats.

(Writing by David Bailey in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler)