Monday, 23 October, 2017

Betty Shelby: Tulsa Cop Who Shot Unarmed Terence Crutcher Acquitted by Jury

Freda Brock | 28 May, 2017, 21:56

The family of Terence Crutcher burst into tears and reacted with outrage after jurors found Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby not guilty in the September 16 shooting.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby enters the courtroom Monday, May 15, 2017, in Tulsa, Okla., for her manslaughter trial in the shooting of Terence Crutcher.

A white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man a year ago has been found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter after nine hours of jury deliberations.

Shelby said that she fired out of fear when she killed Crutcher, who had his hands above his head.

Instead, Crutcher's death - another involving an unarmed black man at the hands of police - touched off Black Lives Matter protests and calls for greater transparency from local authorities.

A verdict has been reached in the Officer Betty Shelby Manslaughter Trial. John Durkee is in our newsroom. She said she believed Crutcher was under the influence of PCP at the time. "I have four grandchildren that are at home now, that have lost their daddy". She also contended through her lawyer she was suffering from "auditory exclusion" and did not hear other officers arrive and one state that he had his Taser ready.

An autopsy showed that Crutcher had 96 nanograms per milliliter of PCP in his bloodstream at the time of his death, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV. "There's still a family that has dealt with a tragedy here, the Crutchers, and we still extend our deepest sympathies to them". She denied race was a factor in the killing and insisted her actions were driven entirely by the behavior of the man she shot, Terence Crutcher, 40, after his auto was left blocking a road.

Defense attorney Shannon McMurray said Shelby shot Crutcher because she thought he was reaching into his SUV for a gun.

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"Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor", said Tiffany Crutcher, Terence's twin sister, according to the NBC News.

Approximately 100 people gathered outside the courthouse to protest the decision late Wednesday night.

In an April interview on 60 Minutes, Shelby denied that Crutcher's race played a factor in her decision to shoot him.

Crutcher's family was seen leaving the courtroom visibly emotional after the verdict.

McMurray elicited groans from the gallery last week when she asked an investigator if a screwdriver found on the center console of Crutcher's vehicle could be considered a weapon.

Crutcher's vehicle had reportedly broken down. Tulsa Police Department Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Jerad Lindsey said "this is not a celebratory moment".

Crutcher did not comply with her commands to "show me your hands", she testified. During her testimony, Shelby said she arrived on the scene and cleared the vehicle, not seeing anyone inside.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, who charged Shelby with first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion on September 22, has argued that Shelby, who is white, unreasonably shot Crutcher, who was black, out of fear. Shortly before he was shot Mr. Crutcher had stopped his S.U.V.in the middle of a North Tulsa street and got out.

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