TULSA – The father of the man who was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer spoke, along with Reverend Al Sharpton, Wednesday describing the first time he heard that his son was dead.
The press conference was held at the National Action Network with speakers such as Joe Crutcher, Tiffany Crutcher and the family’s legal team.
Joe Crutcher said the Friday night that Terence was shot, he was conducting a musical workshop at Antioch Baptist Church. He said he travels to Birmingham, Alabama to attend the Gospel Music Workshop of America every year. The church choir was in the middle of learning the music that was taught at the workshop when, Joe Crutcher said, his sisters entered the church.
“I said ‘what are they doing over here?’” said Crutcher. “Then they came up and I asked what was wrong. They said ‘the police killed Terence’ and I lost it and I fell.”
Joe Crutcher went on explain that one of Terence Crutcher’s passions was gospel music. He said his son attended the national workshop with him and that’s why he was enrolled at Tulsa Community College studying music.
“He wanted to be more professional in presenting that music to the community,” said Joe Crutcher. “That’s what we’ve done, in the Tulsa community. We’ve given our lives to gospel music and inspiring music there. My son will not be able to do that anymore.”
Joe Crutcher then talked about the four children Terence Crutcher left behind, saying the youngest is starting “to notice his father isn’t there.”
“We say ‘your daddy is in Heaven.’ He loves going to church and he hears that word ‘Heaven’ all the time,” said Joe Crutcher. “Well, then he asked ‘is he coming back today, tomorrow’ … what could I tell him?”
Joe Crutcher then went on to say that his son did exactly what he told him to do when dealing with police: keep his hands up.
“My son had his hands raised up, just like I taught him to do. Just like I taught a lot of the young African Americans in our community, because I work with them,” said Joe Crutcher. “’What do you do when you get stopped by the police,’ I say ‘put your hands up, put them up so they can see them. So they know that you don’t have a gun.’ And that’s what he was doing.”
Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby after, a department spokesperson said, he refused to comply with orders to put his hands up. Footage released by the Tulsa Police Department does show Crutcher with his hands up in the video.
“He was walking to the car and they shot him down like he was a dog,” said Joe Crutcher. “Every time I see that video … I can’t look at it anymore.”
Joe Crutcher, along with Reverend Al Sharpton are scheduled to host a national rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 27.
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