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Tulsa Police Release Video Of Cop Fatally Shooting Unarmed Man After His Car Broke Down

An unarmed Oklahoma man was fatally shot by a police officer after his car stalled on the road Friday (Sept. 16) evening. Terence Crutcher 40, was shot by a Tulsa officer not long after cops pulled up behind his SUV.

In the dash cam footage, released by the Tulsa Police Department Monday (Sept. 19), a handful of police are seen running towards Crutcher just as they arrive.  One of the officers fired a taser, before the Officer Betty Shelby, fatally shot Crutcher, the New York Daily News reports.

An officer is heard saying that Crutcher's hands were raised on the recording. The footage goes on to show Crutcher lying on the ground as cops stand in a circle around him.

He later died at a hospital.

Before being gunned down, Crutcher was returning from a Tulsa Community College music class at around 7:40 p.m., when his car stalled.

According to the Associated Press, the Tulsa Police Department said that an officer spotted Crutcher while responding to another call. The officer called for backup, while two additional cops were approached by Crutcher as they walked towards his vehicle.

Crutcher “refused to follow commands by the officers” a spokesperson for the police department said before the video was made public.

“As they approached the vehicle a black male started towards them," asserted Jeanne MacKenzie. “They continued to talk to him and he continued not to listen and follow any commands.”

She added, “Every situation is different. Officers are involved in typically fast-moving situations, and officers who choose to use force, base (those decisions) on the situation involved that they are facing."

Over the weekend, Crutcher’s family called for police to release body cam recordings, but Tulsa cops have yet to wear them — despite receiving $500,000 grant for body cameras last year.

Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany, maintained that her brother did not have a weapon. “One fact I do know is that my brother was unarmed,” she said to the press Saturday (Sept. 17).

Two days later, at a press conference revealing the video, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan referred to Crutcher as a “suspect” while confirming that there was “no gun” on his person or in his vehicle.

“I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation watching this: We will achieve justice,” Jordan said.

Shelby has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma are among those demanding that Shelby face charges.

Watch the video of the shooting below — please be warned that the footage is very graphic.

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California Approves Bill Banning Racial Discrimination Based On Hairstyles

California is set to become the latest state to ban racial discrimination based on hairstyles. Senate Bill 188, also known as The Crown Act, was introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) in January and unanimously approved in a 37-0 vote Monday (April 22).

The bill outlines the proximity between race and hair and how the history of the U.S. has been “riddled with laws and societal norms” that equate  “blackness’” which includes physical traits such as “dark skin, kinky and curly hair” with inferiority, and therefore subjecting black people to “separate and unequal treatment.”

“This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism,” Morgan states in the bill. “Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.

“Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals,” Morgan continues.

Furthermore, dress codes and grooming policies prohibiting “natural hair” have a “disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.”

The 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination extends to afros as well, but doesn’t include other hairstyles. As pointed out in SB 188, “courts do not understand that afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. Black hair can also be naturally presented in braids, twists, and locks.”

Although the bill has yet to be signed into law, the state isn't alone in making moves to end the racist bias against natural hair. In February, New York City passed a similar bill in February imposing a $250,000 penalty for hair discrimination.

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Scott Olson

13-Year-Old Texas Girl Dies After Being Jumped By Three Teens

A 13-year-old Texas girl was placed on life support after being jumped by three teenage girls last week, and the New York Daily News confirms the teen died.

Kashala Francis was walking home from Attucks Middle School Thursday (April 18) when she was jumped by two girls and kicked in the head by another. Cellphone recording of the incident shows the attackers laughing.

The girl's mother Mamie Jackson told reporters that Kashala came home with a bruise on her face, told her what happened but insisted she was fine. However, things quickly got worse.

On the following Saturday, Jackson says Kashala went to a family member's house and was told she became delusional but was able to gather her bearings. On Sunday (April 21), Kashala called her mother and complained she felt weak and had a painful headache before lying down.

Jackson said soon after she called the ambulance because Kashala was unconscious. While at Texas Children's Hospital, it was discovered she had a tumor in the back of her head and had fluid buildup in her brain.

On Wednesday morning (April 24) Kashala died. Pending an autopsy, it's unclear if the young girl had the tumor prior to the fight, or if being kicked in the head caused the tumor, which resulted in her death.

Until the autopsy can make the distinction, the case is being investigated as a homicide.

In an emailed sent to The Daily News, the school district stated it's offering students access to grief counselors.

"[The district] is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students. We extend our sincere condolences to the student’s family, friends, teachers, and classmates."

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Second Man Convicted In The 1998 Death Of James Byrd Jr To Be Executed

In 1998, Jasper, Texas became the epicenter of the nation when James Byrd Jr's dismembered body was found outside of a predominately black church. The rest of his body was found about a mile and a half away.

Byrd was beaten by three white supremacists men and tied to the back of a pick-up truck and reportedly dragged three miles. All men were found guilty for his brutal murder. One was sentenced to life in prison, one was executed in 20111 and another will be put to death today (April 24).

According to CNN, Jon William King, 44 who's been on death row for 20 years, will die by lethal injection.

King has long maintained coconspirator Shawn Berry was solely responsible for Byrd's death. King has appealed his conviction, alleging ineffectiveness from his defense team. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case last October.

In 2011, Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed and Shawn Berry was sentenced to life. While murders are devastating, Byrd's dragging death placed a blinding spotlight on the racial tension in America. The fallout from the case helped to pass the nation's hate crime bill, named after both Byrd and Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen who was viciously beaten to death.

Byrd's family, however, have opposed the death penalty and made it clear they would prefer that King be sentenced to life in prison. Byrd's son Ross has been quoting saying, "You cannot fight murder with murder."

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