Police need to take responsibility for its actions

Gregory Garrett, Reporter

Rejoicing over the destruction of a human life is very conflicting. However, tears of joy was the only emotion that surfaced when I heard the officer responsible for taking the life of Terence Crutcher – another innocent black male – was arrested.

Officer Betty Shelby’s life will never be the same after being charged with first degree manslaughter. This is not the first time an officer was charged during this apparent epidemic of killing innocent African-Americans.

Eric Garner’s killer was also charged. This is, however, the first criminal charge an officer faced in these recent killings, and I couldn’t be happier. Or maybe I could.

Shelby could receive a minimum of four years in prison if these charges stick. Frankly, I am not satisfied with that. Four years is not nearly enough for shooting down an unarmed man with his hands raised. That is nothing short of an execution.

She needs four years based on stupidity alone. Was she not aware of what has been happening across the nation? Before Terence Crutcher, there were about 15 other African Americans whose lives were cut short in a similar fashion.

How does an officer not change their approach after seeing these senseless killings? If you do not value the lives of these black men, do you at least value yours?

You have to know that whatever you do as an officer has an extremely high chance of being visually recorded. How does one not at least consider that?

To answer my own questions, I believe these officers operate in an environment of hate, fear, and cover-ups. It’s the only rationalization I can give.

This certainly isn’t peace, love and understanding. And if this is their vision of protecting and serving, then I do not want any parts of it. I encourage everyone to watch the footage and look at the facts.

Crutcher had his hands raised while walking slowly to his vehicle, then he was shot. That’s all you need to know. Shelby never once said that they were in a physical altercation. This was all over a verbal dispute.

If Shelby hated Crutcher because of the color of his skin, then she has no place on the police force. If fear was the motive, then Shelby should have waited for back-up. Oh wait, she did. Crutcher wasn’t killed until adequate back-up arrived.

If it wasn’t hate or fear, maybe he just looked like a “bad dude.” That is what one police officer said about Crutcher as he sat in his helicopter from about 1000 feet in the air.

The reaction of the officers after Shelby shot Crutcher was the most heart breaking part. The officers lined up and slowly backed away from Crutcher’s body with there guns still drawn like they were at the scene of a police shootout.

No sense of urgency for the victim, no attempt to resuscitate him. They just allowed him to bleed-out. One would think that after an officer shoots to disarm an unarmed man, that he would receive medical attention sure after.

Sadly, these senseless killings did not end there. Crutcher’s blood did not get a chance to wet the sand before the slaying of another black man occurred. On Tues. Sept. 20, just three days later, Keith Scott, 43, of North Carolina was shot and killed by officers.

Reports on this are sketchy at the moment. Some say he had a gun, others say he was carrying a book. Other reports are calling it mistaken identity.

Maybe he just looked like yet another “bad dude,” and that was enough reason for his life to end.

I am a 210-pound, 6-foot-3 African American male. Perhaps I am also seen as a “bad dude.” As the saying goes, death comes in threes. Hopefully I am not next.


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