Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby Not Guilty Of Manslaughter For Shooting Terence Crutcher; Protests
Tulsa, OK - Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter by a jury on Wednesday night.
Jury deliberations began Wednesday afternoon, and lasted for nine hours, according to CBS News.
The manslaughter charge resulted from 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.
Officer Shelby's defense attorney Shannon McMurray said that she 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."
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."
After the trial, there was the usual disorder from those who were unhappy that they didn't get their way. It started with the Crutcher family holding an unplanned news conference at the courthouse after the verdict, according to KJRH.
Protesters blocked a main road in downtown Tulsa for a short time after Officer Shelby was acquitted, according to US News. After police ordered them to disperse or tear gas might be used, the crowd moved to a nearby street corner.
About 100 people gathered in the courthouse plaza, chanting 'no justice, no peace, no racist police.' That crowd was for the most part peaceful and later voluntarily dispersed. Some protesters rushed the hotel where Officer Shelby was staying.
Oklahoma's Governor Mary Fallin called for peace.