Thursday, September 22, 2016
Crutcher's arm clearly seen reaching INSIDE his SUV at moment of shooting
The clearest video seems to be from CNN. Here is a screenshot at the 47 second mark (click image for full resolution):
Surrounding video frames show the movement of Crutcher's arm inside the SUV. Once you know where to look you can watch the video at normal speed and be able to see Crutcher's arm pull out from inside the SUV as he falls away from being shot. No doubt about it. So it looks like Officer Betty Shelby will be cleared.
Tulsa police must already know that the window of Crutcher's SUV was down, since they would have pictures of the crime scene that have not been released yet, but Tulsa prosecutors must not have realized there is video that verifies Shelby's claim that Crutcher was reaching into the SUV when she shot him. Otherwise it is hard to see how they could possibly have charged her with anything, never mind manslaughter.
I hope D.A. Kunzweiler's reaction to this proof of her veracity is a glad one, instead of wishing it would go away, but given how fast he charged her I suspect the latter. It looks like prosecutors are hoping that throwing her to the mob will reduce racial tension but appeasement only whets the appetite of the appeased. Kunzweiler needs to listen to President Reagan. "No Danegeld":
Note that it is Crutcher's right arm that reaches in, not his left, so Officer Shelby's lawyer Scott Wood got that detail wrong (at the CNN link), but otherwise Shelby's story is borne out, and possibly the left-arm bit too. Video from several seconds earlier, when the helicopter is behind Crutcher, does seem to show him reaching in with his left arm, so maybe Shelby should have shot him then, but the actual shooting occurred when he reached in with his right arm, which makes sense, as that reach-in would have been more visible to Shelby.
I think the strongest arguments in support of Officer Shelby are that Crutcher was extremely uncooperative every step of the way (and each step of the way, that increases the danger to the officer): he did not raise his hands to cooperate (he was not ordered to raise his hands at all, only to take them out of his pockets). Walking toward his SUV was another act of non-cooperation. The shifty body movements once he arrived at his driver's window did not help, especially after he had ignored all commands. With his loose t-shirt, he positioned himself sideways to the officers: he could be preparing to pull a concealed pistol from his left hip. I thought this article was interesting, with some of Officer Shelby's comments, as well as the 6-minute video from her lawyer:
And I learned a lot from reading this long article by a Tulsa police detective about this case: http://lawofficer.com/2016/09/detectivetulsa/