Oklahoma officer testifies at her manslaughter trial

Cameron Gross
May 18, 2017

Oklahoma's Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has called for calm after a jury found a Tulsa police officer not guilty in the shooting of an unarmed black man previous year.

Prosecutors said Shelby recklessly ratcheted up tensions. "No justice, no peace, no racist police".

Tulsa has a long history of troubled race relations dating back to a 1921 race riot that left about 300 black residents dead.

Shelby's defense claims that Crutcher was walking away from officers towards his auto, disobeying multiple orders to stop moving and get on the ground.

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". The footage doesn't offer a clear view of when Shelby shot Crutcher.

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.

The jury of 12 - eight women and four men, including two black women and one black man - will not be allowed to leave the Tulsa County Courthouse until they reach a verdict unanimously or they are unable to, in which a hung jury or mistrial would be declared.

On Monday, Shelby took the stand in her own defense.

McMurray says Shelby is ready to get back to her life.

A Tulsa police spokeswoman said the officers on the ground thought Crutcher had reached into the driver's side window of his SUV. In 2015, a poorly-trained white voluntary deputy, Robert Bates, shot and killed a black man after Bates said he mistakenly reached for his gun rather than a taser.

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Jurors were visibly emotional and some cried when the verdict was read by the judge some nine hours after they began deliberating.

Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Officer Betty Shelby, 42, charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, is shown in this Tulsa County Jail booking photo in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., September 23, 2016.

The shooting was among a spate of officer-involved shootings in recent years that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and prompted calls for more police accountability.

Crutcher is one of at least 20 black people in the USA who have died after police encounters in the past several years.

Prosecutors have argued that Shelby recklessly escalated tension, turning the routine traffic issue into a deadly encounter.

A lawyer for Shelby said the officer was "elated" that the jury found her not guilty.

Deliberations are underway Wednesday afternoon in the manslaughter trial for Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who faces up to a life sentence for fatally shooting Terence Crutcher Sept. 16.

Prosecutors argue that the Tulsa officer overreacted when she shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.

Shelby's attorneys have said Crutcher refused Shelby's commands to lie down during a two-minute period before police cameras recorded the shooting.

Shelby testified that she also suspected Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, or phencyclidine, a powerful hallucinogenic that often makes people act in unpredictable ways.

Other reports by BadHub

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