Tulsa Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter For Terence Crutcher Shooting
- Author: Sidney Guerrero Oct 01, 2016,
Oct 01, 2016, 6:55
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges against officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on September 16.
Shelby was booked on first-degree manslaughter charges Friday and released shortly after that.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges Thursday afternoon against Shelby, saying the officer "reacted unreasonably" when she shot Crutcher, who did not have a gun.
If convicted she could face a minimum of four years in prison.
According to an affidavit, Shelby was responding as backup to a domestic call when she came upon Crutcher in the road with a vehicle blocking eastbound and westbound lanes.
Multiple police cameras, including ones mounted in squad cars and in a helicopter, captured the Crutcher shooting on tape. The man warned it was going to blow up, the caller said.
A police officer responsible for shooting an unarmed motorist to death in Oklahoma last week is now facing criminal charges.
"In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher", he said.
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Shelby's attorney, Scott Wood, said Friday that Shelby is trained in "de-escalation" and that she had been selected to train new officers at the Tulsa Police Department. He says he doesn't have answers, but he's committed to helping find them, and he will use his voice "as much as possible".
No dashcam footage exists from Shelby's auto because she didn't activate her emergency lights - which in turn switches on the camera - when she came upon the abandoned vehicle in the roadway. Shelby told investigators Crutcher did not comply with her instructions and "that she was in fear for her life and thought Crutcher was going to kill her", according to the arrest affidavit.
Wood did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment about Shelby being charged.
Demonstrations in Tulsa since Crutcher's death have been consistently peaceful. Officer Turnbough then arrives and after Crutcher he reached in the driver's side front window of his vehicle, he fired his Taser and Shelby fired one shot striking Crutcher in the lung, according to the affidavit.
"We understand that nothing will bring him back", she said. Crutcher, his white shirt stained with blood, lies on the ground alone and unattended for almost two minutes before an officer puts on medical gloves and begins to examine him.
Crutcher's SUV broke down, which was why he was approached by the police before he was killed.
The Department of Justice is conducting what U.S. Attorney Danny Williams, Sr. called a comprehensive review of the events surrounding the shooting. Williams said the Northern District of Oklahoma is working with the D.O.J.'s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. and the F.B.I.to investigate allegations of excessive force.