Oklahoma Police Officer Acquitted In Terence Crutcher Shooting

By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter.

Jurors acquitted Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby in the Sept. 16 shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. Shelby said she fired her weapon out of fear because she said he didn’t obey her commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his SUV for what she thought was a gun. Crutcher was unarmed.

Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted. They noted Crutcher had his hands in their air and wasn’t combative — part of which was confirmed by police video taken from a dashboard camera and helicopter that showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby, hands held above his head.

Shelby’s attorneys argued that in the two minutes before cameras began recording the encounter, Shelby repeatedly ordered Crutcher to stop walking away from her and get on the ground.

Shelby also said she feared Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known as Angel Dust that makes users erratic, unpredictable and combative.

An autopsy showed PCP was in Crutcher’s system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV.

Crutcher’s family said police attempted to “demonize” Crutcher over the drug possession to deflect attention from the fact officers didn’t find a gun inside his SUV.

Speaking after a jury found Shelby not guilty of manslaughter, Rev. Joey Crutcher, father of Terence Crutcher, said: “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.”

Terence Crutcher’s sister, Tiffany Crutcher, says that her brother did not show any aggression toward Shelby, did not attack her and did not threaten the officer.

Tiffany Crutcher said: “Betty Shelby murdered my brother and after she murdered my brother the Tulsa police department …read more    

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