Welcoming Charges, Family of Terence Crutcher Vows to 'Break Chains' of Impunity
"We must not assume the conversation and the move towards desperately needed criminal justice and policing reforms ends today."
The family of Terence Crutcher claimed a "small victory" late Thursday after the Tulsa County district attorney charged police officer Betty Shelby with manslaughter in the first degree for killing the unarmed father of four.
"While we are pleased to learn that the officer who senselessly killed by my beloved twin brother will face criminal charges for her senseless act, we understand that nothing will bring him back," said Terence's sister, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, during a press conference following the announcement.
But, she cautioned, "we know the history of these cases," referring to the countless other incidents where police officers were let off after killing a black civilian. "We know she gets charged but we get no convictions."
Crutcher said the family would be "vigilant" in following this case, and called for "transparency and accountability."
"The chain breaks here," Crutcher vowed. "We are gonna break the chains of injustice, the chains of police brutality. The chain breaks here right in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'm challenging everyone from all walks of life to join with us as we move forward."
This is a "small victory...but we know we got to get ready to fight this war. Join arms, lock arms with us as we go out and make everyone aware that today we can change this nation."
Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, echoed those remarks. In a press statement, he called the charges "welcome and appropriate," but said the group continues to "remain concerned for Tulsa's communities of color and for Black Americans across this nation."
"The officers who callously failed to render immediate aid when Terence was shot and bleeding to death and the officer in the helicopter who referred to Terence Crutcher as 'one bad dude' are evidence of a dehumanizing culture we see all too often," Kiesel said.
"As we continue to grapple with an epidemic of police brutality and killings that disproportionately affect people of color, we must not assume the conversation and the move towards desperately needed criminal justice and policing reforms ends today," he concluded.