Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby who fatally shot an unarmed man, Terence Crutcher has been acquitted of manslaughter.
Shelby was charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Crutcher on a Tulsa highway after his car broke down. The Crutcher family and some jurors were seen crying after the verdict and expressed their disappointment after Betty Shelby was found not guilty. About 100 protesters gathered outside to protest the verdict. Crutcher’s father, Rev. Joey Crutcher, said after the verdict was announced, “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.”
The video of the shooting showed Crutcher walking to his vehicle with his hands up just before he was shot. A man in a helicopter that videoed the incident could be heard calling Terence Crutcher “a bad dude”.
Prosecutors argued that Shelby escalated the situation into a fatal one. They also noted that Crutcher was not combative and had his hands up. They also questioned her on why she didn’t use a taser like her colleague, Tyler Turnbough who was also present at the scene. Defense attorneys said Shelby repeated told Crutcher to stop walking away from her. Shelby testified that Crutcher did not obey her orders to show his hands, and he was sweating heavily and smelled of PCP chemicals.
Prosecutors also asked her if she thought Crutcher was the cause of his misfortune.
“Is Terence Crutcher’s death his fault?” Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray asked.
“Yes,” Shelby replied.
Shannon McMurray, Shelby’s defense attorney, after the verdict said, “She’s ready to get back to her life.” She also stated that Shelby was “elated” with the verdict.
The September 2016 shooting of Crutcher was among the number of police-involved shootings in recent years which has angeredAfrican-Americans, people of colour and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last month, police officer Roy Oliver shot and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The officer has since been fired and charged with murder.