Middletown Police Chief Tweets Criticism Over Fatal Shooting of Terence Crutcher

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
September 21, 2016 1:25 pm Last Updated: September 21, 2016 1:25 pm

The recent shooting death of an unarmed black man by a Tulsa police officer has prompted an Ohio police chief to launch a powerful appeal for better policing among those who have pledged to serve and protect.

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw took to social media to vent his frustrations about police shootings and the negative effects it has on the image of officers.

Muterspaw wrote on Facebook that if police officers “can’t do the job or are scared of people different than you, then get out of the job. You are making us all look bad. STOP.”

He also tweeted similar sentiments on Sept. 20.

Terence Crutcher was shot to death by officer Betty Shelby on Sept. 16 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The controversial shooting that was captured on a dashboard camera shows Crutcher with his hands in the air before he is shot. His death has sparked protest across the city.

Muterspaw, a longtime veteran officer with the Middletown Police Department was asked by fellow Twitter users how would he have responded if placed in same situation. Muterspaw said he’s been in similar situations numerous times before and his first instinct is to protect.

Muterspaw said he was fed up with seeing death and hate and that he intends to use the Crutcher shooting as a training tool within his department, reported the Journal-News.

“It could be us tomorrow,” said Muterspaw. “You have to look at it. It’s not second-guessing anybody. It’s training for us. It’s a chance to learn from it. We are not robots. We have an opinion too. If it makes our department better and keeps our officers safer, if it makes the city better we should speak out about it.”

Shelby’s decision to use deadly force confounds Muterspaw, who also added training and real-life scenarios are two different things.

“We are like any job,” he said. “It’s not necessarily bad seeds or bad apples, people just aren’t prepared when something happens and they panic. You can train all day long. You can go through scenarios all day long. But you know you are not going to get hurt in those scenarios. But when it hits the fan, people sometimes panic.”

The shooting is currently under investigation by both the county’s district attorney office and U.S. Justice Department.

Shelby has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice after police-involved shootings.