In discussing the police killing of unarmed African American Terence Crutcher, Sean Hannity repeatedly tried to suggest that Crutcher was a violent criminal, although that would have had no bearing on whether he was wrongfully shot and killed several days ago.
On Hannity's radio show today, Tulsa reporter Russell Mills repeatedly knocked down Hannity’s claims that Crutcher was a known criminal. If Hannity wasn’t trying to suggest that Crutcher got what was coming to him, Hannity was certainly suggesting that the police officer who shot and killed him had reason to fear him.
In the clip below, Hannity asked if it appeared that Crutcher was “reaching for something or trying to retrieve something from the car” when he was killed.
“That was the contention of the attorney for the officer, Betty Shelby, who fired that fatal shot,” Mills replied. As CNN explained, Shelby’s justification for fatally shooting Crutcher was that she thought he was reaching into his car, potentially to get a gun. But he had no gun, according to the police. And, Mills added, video from the Crutcher family showed that the car window had been closed.
So Hannity started trying to impugn Crutcher’s character. But it didn't work out well.
From Media Matters’ transcript:
HANNITY: I understand that in this particular case Mr. Crutcher has a long criminal history and appeared to be under the influence or so the police are charging.
MILLS: Well I’ll tell you I looked up his history and I’m not seeing a lot of criminal history. We have something called the OSCN - the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network. I was able to find a protective order from 12 years ago that was dismissed. I found a couple of financial things. There’s no violent criminal history for Mr. Crutcher that I’ve been able to uncover.
HANNITY: How many warrants, how many warrants were out for his arrest?
HANNITY: Well I read that there was numerous warrants out for his arrest including one assault on an officer and drug trafficking. Are those reports incorrect?
MILLS: As far as I know they are. I have not seen any reporting on any warrants for Mr Crutcher and I certainly haven’t uncovered any myself. There has been some misinformation floated.
Hannity insisted he had a source within the police department (whose word he will almost surely accept unquestioningly) who told him that drugs had been found on Mr. Crutcher. “So I guess it’s a matter of time of when they’re going to release this information," Hannity said. "So we’ll have to wait and see.”
But questions of Mr. Crutcher’s character are quite irrelevant here. The question is why the police shot and killed an unarmed man who was not committing any criminal or violent act at the moment he was killed.
Last night, I argued that Donald Trump spit in the faces of African Americans when he decided to have Hannity host a town hall at a black church tonight. Today, Hannity proved me correct one more time.
Listen to Hannity try to besmirch (one of his favorite words) Crutcher below, from the September 21, 2016 The Sean Hannity Show, via Media Matters.
Hannity graphic by Nina Brodsky.
UPDATE: The town hall with Trump was pre-empted for coverage of the Charlotte protests.
Carole Damiani. That sounds exotic.