Sean Hannity tries and fails to smear Terence Crutcher: "I read that there was numerous warrants out for his arrest"

An Ohio reporter smacks down the Fox News host's attempt to paint Crutcher as a criminal: That's "misinformation"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 22, 2016 4:06PM (EDT)

As if hosting Donald Trump's so-called African-American town hall, which was noticeably devoid of actual African-American attendees, this week wasn't bad enough, Fox News host Sean Hannity is now attempting to smear an unarmed black man who was shot dead by Tulsa, Oklahoma, police on Friday.

"I understand that in this particular case Mr. Crutcher has a long criminal history and appeared to be under the influence," Hannity said on his eponymously named radio show Thursday. The Fox News host was referring to 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, a black father of four who was shot to death by Officer Betty Shelby after his car allegedly stalled out in the middle of the road last Friday.

The Tulsa World has since reported, citing an unnamed police source, that a vial of PCP was found in Crutcher's car. Aerial and dash-cam footage of the shooting appear to show Crutcher with his hands up and walking back to his vehicle in the moments before the shooting. Tulsa police have confirmed that Cruther did not have a gun, either on him or in the car.

Speaking with KRMG-TV news anchor Russell Mills, Hannity turned his attention away from the police officer who did the shooting to Crutcher to ask, "How many warrants were out for his arrest?

"None," Mills answered.

"Well I read that there was numerous warrants out for his arrest including one assault on an officer and drug trafficking," Hannity pressed.

"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," Mills told Hannity. "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. "

"Are those reports incorrect?" Hannity continued.

"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," Mills told Hannity.

"There has been some misinformation floated," Mills said to knock down Hannity's attempt to cast a dead victim as a criminal thug.

"He did not have any warrants. He had not done anything wrong. He had a malfunctioning vehicle, and he should have been treated accordingly," Crutcher family attorney Melvin Hall told the Chicago Tribune this week. The paper reported, however, that Crutcher did serve four years in prison from 2007 to 2011 on a Tulsa County drug-trafficking conviction.

Watch Hannity's shameful, but failed, attempt to smear Terence Cruther below, via Media Matters:

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Police Brutality Sean Hannity Terence Crutcher Video