As a fatal shooting sparked protests in North Carolina on Tuesday night, the memories of Terance Crutcher, the 40-year-old man that was killed earlier this month by a police officer in Tulsa, OK came flooding back into the hearts and minds of America.
Faithwire spoke with Terance’s father, Joey about the families devastating loss and their trust in God.
Faithwire: What would you want people to take away from the shooting and you losing your son?
Joey Crutcher: Well I want them to realize that all black men and brown skinned people are not always a threat to society and to the police department. In this particular instance my son was doing everything that I had taught him to do. I’m a minister, I was just about to do a men’s conference on that Saturday and we were going to address the situations that police, the force was going to come in and talk with young black guys on how they should be arrested. Terance was doing everything that I had taught him to do and everything that he should do in that incident, hold your hands up and it just didn’t do any good. You asked me, what I want taken away from this thing? We start looking at these situations. We had a shooting in Charlotte, I mean there are all these people of color, I mean, we have to stop demonizing black people and we need to start understanding.
Police are there to serve and protect not to be judge and jury all the time. Terance was judged and killed and executed by a police officer that I feel had lack of training, a moral inability to be able to do her job. In fact all the police that surrounded this incident all coped to her, the other police. I would want that they would have video cameras that would be activated in these situations, so we can just see and hear everything that is going on instead of just stopping African-Americans. This video clearly shows my son was doing the right thing and he wasn’t doing anything and he was not a threat.
Faithwire: How are you using your faith to get through this and help the rest of your family?
JC: They know that our family is a faith based family. We are using our faith to get us through this, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a call from a higher power, I don’t know how I would be able to deal with this situation.
Faithwire: Did your son also go to church?
JC: He was in church every Sunday. We were gospel music artists. Part of the gospel music workshop of America and I am the chapter representative for the Tulsa chapter and I’m the minister of music for the new age Christians here in Tulsa. Terance was a great singer, a gospel singer, he went to church every Sunday, Bibles, Sunday school every Sunday morning. Every morning, he got up and read his Bible.
Faithwire: What do you think, If you could imagine, what are some of the last thoughts your son was having before he was shot?
JC: I don’t know, I think he was thinking, I am doing everything that I am suppose to do. His vehicle was broken down on the highway and one thing that Terance has, is a prosthetic eye and they kept saying he was not following commands but Terance has a little hearing problem, you know what I mean and prosthetic eye and there were helicopters all above him. We don’t know, but Terance was walking back to put his hands on his car like I instructed him to do, like I have all the young men.
We have so many young men now who are scared to drive and scared to get a license because they are scared they are going to be victimized because of them being black.
Faithwire: If you could change what happened and the outcome, I know you would obviously still want to have your son here, but what would you tell the police officer before anything happened and what would you tell the police officer now?
JC: Well now the police officers, they do have a hard job. They have to make split decisions a lot of times. I don’t know what was in the mind of that officer and what she actually saw or what she actually thought but if those dash cams were turned on and if those body cameras were turned on there would be no guessing or anything. Other than that, we have got clear evidence. There is no disputing of anything that Terance was doing everything he was suppose to do in that situation.
Faithwire: When your families day in court comes, do you have a speech prepared on saying or remark you would like to make?
JC: Well I am going to continue to keep my faith, I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t reckon and I will say I forgive and love that officer for what she’s done to my son. She’s left his four little kids without a father but I want justice to be done, I want this officer to be charged with pre-meditated murder for her to be brought to justice and brought to trial like any other person that would commit a murder. She committed a murder, I don’t care what she said, I don’t care what anybody says, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, she shot him in cold blood and she needs to be brought to justice, no matter how much I forgive her and whatever I said and how compassionate I am (and) my family is very faith based, we serve the Tulsa community with gospel singing and gospel music, I am a musician in my church and Terance was in church every Sunday. We are very compassionate, we serve the Tulsa community and we inspire them with music. I am the 1991 Gospel Music inductee in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa. So we are very compassionate people and very loving people, our whole family, we are a big family. My mother had 11 children and all of us are very passionate. We are always in church and we are always serving the community and I have a good rapport with the mayor and the chief of police and all of our elected officials, they all know me and they are very heartbroken. They have reached out to me and my family with so many condolences and apologizes and everything. You know, I am not going to let one bad apple spoil everything that Tulsa is trying to do to be transparent.