After being interviewed on several major networks, the Crutcher family, accompanied by the Rev. Al Sharpton, held a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the National Action Network in Harlem. As Sharpton noted, the burden that weighs on the Crutcher family after Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed by a policewoman in Tulsa, Okla., Friday evening “is a burden that too many families have had to bear.”
While we have coverage elsewhere in the paper, we thought it would be instructive to allow Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Terence’s twin sister, to recount the incident, express the family’s feelings and present their call for justice. We have only slightly edited her comments.
“First of all, I would like to thank New York and Harlem for the outpouring of love and support you have given and will give this coming Saturday here at the National Action Network. We have received support from all around the world, people from different walks of life, different cultures and backgrounds and different races, and they want justice just like we do.
“We are heartbroken and we’re experiencing a whirlwind of emotions right now. We have confusion, hurt, pain, anger, and on the way over here we spoke to some of the college professors at Tulsa Community College, where my brother was starting school there Friday. They called us because they wanted us to hear their stories. They were the last to talk to my brother … it got very emotional. They said he was doing well and was excited about starting school. They walked him around the school and discovered they had canceled his class.
“Now, you have the police department, the police chief, and they looked me in the eye and said we will not vilify your brother, humiliate your family, and now what we are seeing today is the opposite of what they said. And they wonder why our trust [of the police] is not there. Here is what we know: We know there was no gun in the car; we know he was unarmed; we know he was moving slow; we know he didn’t commit a crime like the New York bomber did who is still alive. We know all of these things, but my brother is dead. And to hear the helicopter police say he looks like ‘a bad dude.’ People who are paid to protect and serve us. You didn’t know my brother, didn’t know he needed help … because you thought he looked like a bad dude. Said he didn’t comply, comply with what? What did he need to comply with? Why did he need to put his hands up? What did he do?
“After he was shot he lay there and nobody went to help him … and he lay there for two minutes, bleeding. No one checked on him to see if he had a pulse. No one attempted to preserve his life. They say he died later at the hospital—no, he died on the scene. That’s why we want justice. And we are demanding that the leaders and the district attorney press charges immediately, and we will continue to put pressure on them until they do. That’s what we want, and then we can have peace.
“I just celebrated a birthday with my brother Aug. 16, and we talked about our next few years and what we were going to do. What we [were] going to do before we die, what we [were] going to do for our parents. Later, I got a text message from him and he said, ‘I’m going to show the world and God is going to get the glory out of my life. I’m going to make y’all proud.’ He said he loved me. But because of a senseless error in judgment, he won’t meet that time. So, we’re pleading, we’re demanding that justice be served.
“We just want to thank all of you, and please keep your prayers coming because we need them. We are a faith-based family and we want to keep it that way. But our voices will be heard. So, the chain breaks here.”