Police in Oklahoma released a video Friday that shows a white officer shooting and killing a fleeing black man, the latest deadly, racially-charged incident involving white US law enforcement officers and African-American men.
The graphic, unedited video shows Chansey McMillin, an officer with the Muskogee Police Department, fatally shooting 21-year-old Terence Walker on January 16. Muskogee is located about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa.
The video raises many questions. Police allege Walker dropped a pistol, stopped to pick it up, and then aimed the weapon at McMillin. Critics say McMillin shot Walker after he had picked up whatever he had dropped and was continuing to run away. A pistol was found at the scene, according to the video and police statements.
“It is our belief that the video clearly shows the suspect pointing the gun at the officer,” Muskogee police Sgt. Michael Mahan told the Oklahoman newspaper.
Walker’s mother, Cassandra Walker, told the Oklahoma City-based paper that the policeman was never in danger and should not have fired.
“If Terence was running away from you, he was no threat to you,” she said. “I guess I feel it could be done another way.”
The incident began at about 3:45pm on January 16 when Pastor Andre Jones at the Old Agency Baptist Church in the outskirts of northwestern Muskogee called 911 to report that an armed man had threatened to kill a woman attending a wedding at the church.
“He’s here with a gun,” Jones said on the 911 call, according to the Oklahoman. “I need a police officer because I got to stop this. I got a whole bunch of people here, and I don’t need nobody hurt.”
Mahan told the paper that witnesses heard Walker tell a woman at the wedding he “had a bullet with her name on it.”