University of Maryland students listened to a diverse panel talk about traffic stops Tuesday night, outraged and scared after seeing what happened during the Terence Crutcher stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday.
University of Maryland student Mark Busbee worries about getting stopped by police for driving while black. He's scared after seeing video showing a Tulsa police officer shoot and kill Crutcher, 40.
“After I saw the video, I was just astonished,” Busbee said. “He had his hands up. The female officer didn't give him a warning shot. It was just crazy to see.”
Busbee and dozens of students listened to a criminal defense attorney, a judge, and Prince George's County police officers talk about what to do during traffic stops. Bobby Henry has practiced law for more than three decades.
“What should people do if they get stopped by a police officer? Number one, if you get stopped by a police officer, you ought to follow the instructions of the police officer,” said Henry, a criminal defense attorney. “I know some of my colleagues will disagree with me on that point, but my position is what you want to do is survive.”
Henry told students if they have a problem with the officer, take it to court or talk to the officer's superior after the traffic stop.
“Should you be stopped, I always recommend, especially if it's at night, you turn on all the lights in your car, you roll down all the windows, put both of your hands on the steering wheel, and wait for further instructions,” Henry said.
Some students fear that won't make a difference.
"I always feel like no matter if I'm doing everything right, that just seeing most of the things that have been going on, that if I stop and do what is said, that things can still go wrong,” said Kelsey Stewart, a student at the University of Maryland.”
Busbee said the panel was beneficial.
“You have to do anything you can to stay alive,” Busbee said. “That's how it is now in the United States of America, and it’s a shame. It's 2016.”