Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police has filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association because the Tulsa County DA filed charges against Officer Betty Shelby without actually reviewing the investigation.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a press conference just days after the shooting, “In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determine that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against the Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby is warranted.”
The shooting, which occurred on a Tulsa city street less than a week earlier, was initially short on evidence and in need of a thorough investigation. Shortly after the shooting, the attorney for Officer Shelby met with the press and stated that she believed, as a drug recognition expert, that Crutcher was on PCP. Officer Shelby had just been in a struggle to control Terence Crutcher, and he appeared to be returning to his vehicle to retrieve a weapon at the time that Officer Shelby shot him.
At the time of the shooting, Officer Shelby did not hear the other officers arriving and believed that she was without backup when she fired her weapon while Crutcher appeared to be reaching into his car.
An autopsy the next month revealed the Terence Crutcher was high on PCP at the time of the shooting.
Unfortunately, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler didn't have this information to consider before filing charges because the charges were filed before he had received the reports and evidence.
FOP Chair Jerad Lindsey said, "Whether they're a citizen, whether they're a police officer, whether they're a convicted felon. Whether they're a habitual offender, we do not want them to be charged before all the reports and evidence are in."
Kunzweiler contends that he didn't need the reports or evidence, and he did enough by visiting the scene, speaking to witnesses, the medical examiner, and Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker.
The medical examiner's toxicology screening and report hadn't been completed by the time Kunzweiler filed charges. Also, The conversation with the Sergeant Walker was unlikely to support filing charges. Court documents state that Sergeant Walker told Kunzweiler that he had filed an unwinnable case, and that there was no probable cause to charge Officer Shelby, let alone secure a conviction.
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