Russell Moore, president of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has expressed his sorrow over the shooting death of Terence Crutcher and emphasized that "this situation has to change."
Last Friday, Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed African-American man, was shot by a Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer. Disturbing video footage of the fatal incident quickly went viral on social media, sparking nationwide protests.
On Tuesday, Moore took to Twitter to voice his sorrow over the tragedy: "Grieved to hear about #TerranceCrutcher. Another life lost. Another community traumatized. This situation has to change," he wrote.
The evangelical author later issued a statement to The Christian Post suggesting the situation ought to leave Americans "heartsick".
"I'm afraid that the American people are almost becoming numb to these situations and we have here another life lost," Moore said. "Another community left traumatized. And I think many people are asking how much longer can this situation persist this way. And so, I think we've seen the country is watching the video right now it's, what can one say, except that it ought to leave us heartsick."
Dashcam video of the incident released by the Tulsa Police Department on Monday appears to show the unarmed Crutcher with his hands in the air moments before the officer, who is white, fired her weapon.
However, Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, identified as the officer who shot Crutcher, claimed he "refused to follow more than two dozen commands" before she fatally shot him.
The Independent notes that Shelby, who is described as a "drug recognition expert", said she believed Crutcher was "on something", possibly PCP. Scott Wood, a lawyer for the police officer who shot Crutcher, said in an earlier statement that at the time it was not readily apparent that Crutcher was unarmed.
"He has his hands up and is facing the car and looks at Shelby, and his left hand goes through the car window, and that's when she fired her shot," said Wood, according to Reuters. Shelby is currently on administrative leave with pay.
In turn, the Crutcher family maintains that the video footage shows the car windows were closed: "This is what we know. We know that there was no gun in the car. We know that he was unarmed. We know he was moving slow. We knew he didn't commit a crime," Tiffany Crutcher said at today's news conference. "We know all of those things, but my brother is dead."
She described her brother as a churchgoing family man who was excited about starting at Tulsa Community College; in fact, shortly before he was killed, he walked around the campus and talked with professors.
"They were the last to actually interact with my brother," Tiffany Crutcher said.
The New York Times notes that the department has opened a criminal investigation into the shooting and said the Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, would review its findings. The federal Justice Department opened a separate civil rights investigation.