Since my last blog post, there have been several deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers, but as I search Facebook under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag the shooting of Terence Crutcher and Alfred Olango are the top hits.
Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby on Friday, September 16th. “Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man walks on a Tulsa, Oklahoma, road with his hands in the air. Police officers follow closely behind him as he approaches his vehicle. He stands beside the car, then falls to the ground after one officer pulls the trigger (Blau, Morris, Shoichet 2016).” The officer that pulled the trigger was Betty Shelby. Shelby was brought to the scene after two 911 calls reporting an abandoned car the middle of the road blocking traffic and a man, Terence Crutcher, running away for the vehicle warning that the vehicle was going to blow up. The video of the crime scene shows Crutcher with his hands up the majority of the video even as he got shot in the back by the officer. There were helicopters flying above and three other police officers on the scene. Terence was clearly outnumbered, so it is appalling that officer Shelby’s first instinct was to shoot Terence.
The other top hit was the shooting of Alfred Olango. Olango, an unarmed and mentally ill young man, was shot and killed by an El Cajon police officer on Tuesday the 27th. The police reported to the scene after a woman claiming to be Olango’s sister called describing an African American man acting erratic and needing assistance in calming him. “Once the police arrived at the scene, the man kept his hands concealed in his pockets while pacing back and forth. As a second officer prepared a taser, the man “rapidly drew an object,” placed both hands on it “like you would be holding a firearm” and stood in a “shooting stance,” according to police.One officer fired his gun at the man, while a second officer discharged his taser (McLaughlin, Blau, Vercammen 2016).”
The #BlackLivesMatter supporters are outraged at the blatant disregard for black lives displayed by the police officers. Terence Crutcher had his hands up while he was shot and killed. Although Alfred Olango did have an object in his hands, it was not a weapon. There have been several cases where police officers have deescalated and disarmed other citizens, so it is frustrating when they do not even attempt to and just instantly pull the trigger. BLM activists and supporters are upset and their frustrations are portrayed with a popular meme that reads “Meanwhile they killin black men but got all the sense on how to detain a mf alligator”. This picture can cause some African Americans to feel that their lives are valued less than an animal. The officers in the picture have the time and patience to detain an alligator but other officers that have the training as well do not attempt to detain African Americans.
This picture has 90,513 shares and 45k likes on Facebook
The BLM movement has made great success in bringing attention to the shooting of Crutcher and Olango. Yesterday, Wednesday the 28th, BLM had a protest for the Olango shooting; urging the El Cajon Police Department to release more information regarding the shooting. The BLM group protested at “the intersection of Johnson Ave and Interstate 8 earlier yesterday, blocking a freeway exit for a period of time (McLaughlin, Blau, Vercammen 2016).”
Blau, Max, Jason Morris, and Catherine Shoichet. “Tulsa Police Shooting Investigated by Justice Department.” CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
McLaughlin, Elliot, Max Blau, and Paul Vercammen. “California Officer Fatally Shoots Black Man.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.