“This presence of PCP is a distraction and utterly immaterial to the crucial issue, was Officer Shelby justified in using deadly force on an unarmed man who posed no threat to any officer or citizen?" a lawyer for the family said.
An autopsy report released by a medical examiner Tuesday revealed that the gunshot wound to Terence Crutcher, the unarmed Black man shot by Tulsa, Oklahoma officer Betty Shelby, pierced both lungs and broke a number of ribs, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Crutcher was also found to have two types of drugs in his system at the time of this death, including PCP, according to the medical examiner’s report released Tuesday. But that finding is a “distraction,” the family of the victim said Tuesday.
From CBS News:
Lawyers for Crutcher’s family released a statement saying the toxicology report “does not change the most pertinent facts of this tragedy” and that Shelby “should be held accountable for her unlawful actions.”
“This presence of PCP is a distraction and utterly immaterial to the crucial issue, was Officer Shelby justified in using deadly force on an unarmed man who posed no threat to any officer or citizen?” Attorney Frenchell Johnson said in the statement, released to CBS affiliate KOTV. “The answer, of course, is ‘no.’ Unfortunately, the use of illicit drugs is common in this Country. Those, like Mr. Crutcher, who struggle with addiction should receive treatment, not a bullet in the chest.”
The news comes a month after Crutcher was killed by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby during a roadside stop. Crutcher, who had his hands in the air at the time of the shooting, also tested positive for the hallucinogenic drug Tenocyclidine.
“I am confident that the evidence will show that Officer Shelby was justified is discharging her weapon,” said Shannon McMurray, Shelby’s attorney. She has been charged with first-degree murder.
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Oklahoma ACLU director Ryan Kiesel, along with the family, said the drugs in Crutcher’s system are irrelevant.
“No doubt there will be those who will seize upon this news to justify the killing of Terence Crutcher,” he said in a statement. “Make no mistake about it–those who would attempt to justify his killing on the basis of this finding are engaging in the sort of behavior that dehumanized Terence Crutcher; behavior that ultimately led to his death on the streets of Tulsa and instills genuine fear in the hearts of people of color across our nation.”
Crutcher’s family says he was shot while waiting for help on the road after his SUV broke down in the middle of the street. Shelby opened fire; according to her attorney, she thought Crutcher was retrieving a weapon from his car.
Dozens of protesters in Tulsa took to the streets to call for Shelby’s immediate arrest, the latest in a series of national protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
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