On Monday, Tulsa, OK police released footage showing officers fatally shooting Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, as he stood alongside his SUV. The footage, taken from both a dashboard camera and a helicopter circling above the scene, is shocking and graphic, and contradicts initial reports that Crutcher had not complied with police orders to keep his hands up before they opened fire.
Since the videos were released, outrage has grown over Crutcher’s killing, with parallels being drawn to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota—black men whose on-camera deaths at the hands of law enforcement helped spark a renewed wave of protest over the summer. And like Sterling and Castile, it becomes easy to reduce Terence Crutcher to his final few moments of life—a few grainy moments of footage, and the ensuing, inevitable, hashtag.
But Crutcher was more than a victim of police violence.
Here’s some of what we know about his life.
According to his twin sister, Tiffany, Terence Crutcher was a father of four who, the day of his death, was driving home from the Tulsa Community College, where he was enrolled in a fast track course in music appreciation. Speaking with reporters, Tiffany described her brother as “laid back” and “reserved” with “more friends than anybody [she] knew.”
“He truly loved God,” she told the press. “All we talked about was ‘God is not through with me yet,’ and ‘god’s gonna get the glory.”
Music played a large role in Crutcher’s life. Terry Shannon, pastor at the New Height Christian Center, told the Tulsa World that he sang in the church choir, and “had a beautiful voice.” Crutcher’s family, including his father Joey and mother Leanna, were reportedly longtime members of the church community. Shannon told the World that being Crutcher’s pastor was a “blessing and a joy.”
According to the Associated Press, court records show a Tulsa resident named Terence Crutcher had a 1996 run-in with the law, in which he was given a six-month suspended sentence for carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer.
At a news conference on Monday, Tiffany made reference to her brother’s having been called a “big bad dude” on the police footage.
“You all want to know who that big bad dude was?” she asked reporters. “That big bad dude was my twin brother. That big bad dude was a father. That big bad dude was a son. That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College just wanting to make us proud. That big bad dude loved God. That big bad dude was at church singing with all his flaws every week. That big bad dude, that’s who he was.”
Terence Crutcher was 40-years-old when he was killed. He’d celebrated his birthday just one month earlier, on August 16.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new details are made available.