After Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby was acquitted in the shooting of Terence Crutcher, the police department barred her from working patrol, which resulted in her resignation.
At the time, she cited being forced into a desk job as the reason for her resignation:
It is with a heavy heart that I have made the following decision. Effective August 3, 2017, I will resign from the Tulsa Police Department. Since being reinstated, I have found that sitting behind a desk, isolated from all of my fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa, is just not for me.
Officer Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter in May for the September 2016 shooting of Terence Crutcher.
Officer Shelby was charged by District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler just six days after the shooting, despite the investigation just getting started and a homicide detective telling him that there wasn’t enough evidence. Charges were filed before Kunzweiler had the autopsy or investigation report.
During the trial, Officer Shelby’s defense attorney, Shannon McMurray, said that Officer Shelby shot Crutcher because she thought he was reaching into his SUV for a gun. No gun was found in the vehicle. McMurray said, “To somehow imply that she was supposed to see what was in this door panel is absurd. It’s deceitful and you should disregard it.”
Prior to the trial, there had been claims that Crutcher’s window was actually closed. During the trial, evidence proved that the window was down and the prosecution had to concede the point and that Crutcher was reaching in at the time he was shot.
In April, Officer Shelby went on CBS’ 60 Minutes and talked about what had happened. She said that she felt “almost any police officer in her position would have acted as she did.’ She also said that race had nothing to do with the shooting.
In the 60 minutes video, Officer Shelby said, “I’m feeling that his intent is to do me harm and I keep thinking, “Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Don’t make this happen.”
Based on the circumstances, we also found the shooting to be reasonable.
Shortly after a jury acquitted Officer Shelby, she returned to work where she was barred from working patrol.
Now Reserve Deputy Shelby will be able to continue to serve the citizens of Oklahoma in an unpaid position.