Terence Crutcher, 40, an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by police after his car broke down on a city street in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month, was high on the hallucinogenic drug PCP when he died, according to toxicology tests.
The shooting, which was captured on camera, was just one of the latest police killings of unarmed black people, an issue that has incited protests and debates across the United States in the last two years. Betty Shelby, the Tulsa police officer that shot and killed Crutcher has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter and is currently out on bond, if convicted she is facing four years to life in prison.
Shelby’s lawyer, Scott Wood has reported that Shelby thought Crutcher was retrieving a weapon from his vehicle when she shot at him. She had yelled repeatedly for him to stop walking and to get down on the ground. In the video provided from a helicopter above, you can see Crutcher continued to walk towards his SUV. When he placed his hands in to his pockets, she feared he was going to pull a weapon, he was shot next to the driver’s door of his SUV. There were no weapons on Crutcher, nor were there any in his vehicle. Only a vial of PCP was reportedly found in the broken down vehicle.
This past Tuesday, the toxicology report came back confirming that Crutcher had “acute phencyclidine intoxication” at the time of the shooting. The medical literature, stated that PCP, is known to induce euphoria and feelings of omnipotence along with agitation, mania and depression and that the amount of PCP that was found Crutcher’s system is enough to cause a person to appear to be intoxicated, body uncoordinated, agitated and in a combative state of mind.
The toxicology reports have left many civil right activists questioning how relevant the finding of PCP in his system is, to Crutcher being shot.
“Drug possession and drug use do not now, nor should they ever, justify summary execution,” one activist stated. Many find the toxicology report to be misleading, as it does not specify whether or not Crutcher was under the influence at the time of the incident or if it was simply found in his system.
Crutcher Fatally Shot On Heels Of Many Others
The fatal shot by Shelby, comes on the heel of several other incidents in which police officers have shot and killed unarmed black men. Philando Castile, 32 of Falcon Heights, Mn., was fatally shot in his car with his girlfriend in the passenger seat and her small child sitting behind him. The moments after were all captured and livestreamed on Facebook.
Days earlier, Alton Sterling, 37 of Baton Rouge, La., was killed after a confrontation with police outside of a convenience store where he was selling movies and music. Sterling had no weapons on him at the time.
Most notably, Michael Brown Jr., 18 from Ferguson, Mo., was fatally shot by a police officer after stealing cigarillos from a convenience store. The incident that happened in August of 2014, began weeks of riots and protests around America, creating focus on the major issue between police officers and African Americans.