As if acquitting ex-police officer Betty Shelby of charges associated with the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man was not bad enough, Oklahoma District Judge William LaFortune has now ruled in favor of expunging the first-degree manslaughter charge from her record. This effectually erases the incident from Shelby’s history, as if the shooting never happened. The judge has also ordered that any documents related to the case be sealed, meaning they will only be accessible through court order and can be destroyed in 10 years.
With the exception of government and law enforcement agencies, potential employers would be unable to see the charge on Shelby’s permanent record in a background check.
Shannon McMurray, Shelby’s defense attorney, said that it was important for Shelby “to have that smear on her name removed from public view.”
Shelby, a white police officer, fatally shot Terence Crutcher last year, claiming that Crutcher did not follow demands and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Video from the scene shows Crutcher, who was unarmed, with his hands in the air before being shot. Shelby was acquitted of the felony manslaughter charge in May.
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