TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:
- Toxicology report released for Terence Cructcher shows PCP in his system at time of death
- Crutcher was shot and killed by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby
- Shelby is charged with first degree manslaughter
- FOX23 is working to update this story as we learn more.
The medical examiner's report released for Terence Crutcher show two types of drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Crutcher was shot and killed by a Tulsa police officer in September. Officer Betty Shelby is charged with first degree manslaughter for Crutcher's death.
The ME's report ruled the cause of death a gunshot wound to the chest. The toxicology report also shows Crutcher had Phencyclidine, also known as PCP, in his system. Crutcher also tested positive for Tenocyclidine, a hallucinogenic drug.
The report showed Crutcher had 96 nanograms of PCP per milliliter of femoral blood when he died.
Reports from the U.S. Department of Justice show that PCP was included in the top 25 drugs reported to state and federal labs in 2014 and 2015.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted research in 2000 through 2004 that showed that PCP levels similar to Crutcher's can affect driving and reaction time for up to 14 hours.
They said blood levels peak between one and four hours after ingestion.
Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claim there is no direct correlation between PCP concentration and behavioral or physical findings.
Effects of PCP use vary by the include:
- feelings of strength and invulnerability
- loss of coordination
- distinct changes in body awareness
- distorted sensory perceptions
- impaired concentration
- disordered thinking
- illusions and hallucinations
- combativeness or violence
- memory loss
- bizarre behavior
- rise in blood pressure and heart rate
- profuse sweating
- generalized numbness of extremities
- blurred vision
- grimacing facial expression
- speech difficulties
- muscular incoordination
- marked analgesia
anesthesia (conscious with a staring gaze and rigid muscles)
“I am confident that the evidence will show that Officer Shelby was justified is discharging her weapon," said Shannon McMurray, an attorney for Shelby.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said, "My analysis of the case contemplated and anticipated that Mr. Crutcher would have a positive test result for some type of substance in his system to include PCP."
The attorney representing the Crutcher family also released a statement:
“The medical examiner’s report of PCP in Terence Crutcher's system is unfortunate. However, today's toxicology report does not change the most pertinent facts of this tragedy: Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher who was, unarmed and had his hands up, without provocation or justification and she should be held accountable for her unlawful actions.
Furthermore, Terence was so much more than this issue, including being a devoted father, a college student, and a great gospel singer, and was working hard to better his life and the life of his beloved children when he was gunned down on his way home from class.
Lastly, please continue to pray for the Crutcher family as they seek peace, understanding, and justice in the wake of Terence’s untimely death.”
FOX23 was there when McMurray held a news conference about the findings:
Ryan Kiesel, executive director for the ACLU, released a statement following the report's release:
"Initial reports that Terence Crutcher had PCP in his system are completely irrelevant to the question “should Terence Crutcher be alive today?” These findings are the product of weeks long testing and examination by medical professionals. To say that anyone on that scene could have drawn this conclusion or that such a conclusion would justify lethal force is utterly ridiculous and disingenuous. Drug possession and drug use do not now, nor should they ever, justify summary execution.
No doubt there will be those who will seize upon this news to justify the killing of Terence Crutcher. Make no mistake about it--those who would attempt to justify his killing on the basis of this finding are engaging in the sort of behavior that dehumanized Terence Crutcher; behavior that ultimately led to his death on the streets of Tulsa and instills genuine fear in the hearts of people of color across our nation.
Even though it is irrelevant to the use of lethal force, it is worth noting that these findings do not tell us whether or not Terence Crutcher was under the influence of PCP at the time of this encounter. Testing positive to a substance in your system is very different than being under the influence of a substance, though again neither justify the government gunning someone down in the street.
We encourage the public, the media, and law enforcement to resist the temptation to seize upon this all too convenient practice of character assassination in an attempt to divert attention away from meaningful responses to the systematic violence and dehumanization that is far too common in interactions between law enforcement and communities of color.
These findings in no way change the tragic fact that Terence Crutcher should be alive and with his family today."
Black Lives Matter also released a statement:
"The Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner's Office released a toxicology report this week indicating that, at the time of his death from a gunshot wound inflicted by Officer Betty Shelby, Terence Crutcher tested positive for phencyclidine, also known as PCP.
Drug use is a serious issue in this country, impacting the lives a many Americans at all levels of social stratification. Black Lives Matter OKC supports positive drug rehabilitation programs as well as legislation that would decriminalize addiction and treat it as the illness that it is.
Terence Crutcher’s narcotics use is reflective of a nationwide failure to provide adequate, accessible, and affordable mental health to people most in need. However, his use of narcotics does not constitute a death sentence to be carried out by the people whose job it is to serve and protect him and others like him. It is important that, even in light of this information, we remember the circumstances that resulted in Mr. Crutcher’s death.
• Mr. Crutcher’s car was broken down in the middle of the road when officers approached him, firearms already drawn.
• The video footage of the incident clearly shows that Mr. Crutcher’s hands were up, and a subsequent investigation found no weapon in his possession.
• As Mr. Crutcher walked back to his car, hands still up, he was first tazed and then almost immediately shot by Officer Betty Shelby.
• Mr. Crutcher then lay in the street for nearly two minutes before any of the officers went to check what his physical status.
• Terence Crutcher died in the middle of the road.
We at Black Lives Matter OKC believe the video footage of the incident clearly shows wrongdoing on the behalf of those Tulsa police officers. This is a stance backed by several organizations including the ACLU. We have no doubt that the issues that Terence Crutcher faced in his personal life will be used as a means of trying to deny him justice. Such legal tactics subvert our system of justice and perpetuate the systems of violence that lead to Terence Crutcher’s death.
All too often, those afflicted with drug addiction, especially in the case of people of color, are subjected to the least humanity by our society and the harshest punitive measures by the judicial system.
But know this: Someone must be held accountable for the loss of a son, brother, and father. The killing of yet another unarmed Black man must not go unpunished if we are to have faith in the rule of law.
Black Lives Matter OKC is committed to fighting for the right of all Americans, in particular people of color, to receive the full status of liberty and human dignity promised by the laws of this country. Until such time when this is a reality, we will continue to demonstrate against the injustices perpetrated by our current system."
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