The officer who was responsible for the recent Tulsa shooting has been officially charged with manslaughter. Officer Betty Shelby has not turned haerself in yet.
Shelby shot Terence Crutcher, a 40-year old African-American man. Crutcher died as a result of the wound. Helicopter and dash cam footage showed that Crutcher was holding his hands up in the air when he was shot.
In response to the Tulsa shooting a number of protests and rallies have sprung up all around the town. According to the Tulsa police, these protests continue to be peaceful.
The criminal complaint filed against her mentioned that she acted out of fear when she shot Crutcher. However, her use of deadly force was deemed unlawful and unnecessary.
Crutcher’s family said they were happy with this decision. They will be following the trial closely, and they hope judges will make the right call. District attorneys have also thanked the Tulsa Police Department for their decision.
If Shelby is found guilty, she could face a sentence of four years to life, the penalty for first degree manslaughter in the state of Oklahoma, where the Tulsa shooting took place.
Gov. Mary Fallin has also stated that she hopes this decision will bring at least some piece to the Crutcher family.
The governor also took this opportunity to remind the public that all people who are accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood has not made any comments yet. Earlier this week, he offered Shelby’s account of the events that lead to the shooting. It seems Shelby felt Crutcher was acting weird. Apparently he refused to follow her commands. Crutcher backed away towards his car, and Shelby thought he was reaching to grab a gun. She feared for her life, and shot Crutcher.
However, video footage of the incident shows Crutcher had his hands above his head the entire time. He did indeed move away from Shelby towards his car. From the videos, it is unclear if the car windows were up or down.
Conflicting Versions of the Tulsa Shooting Incident
According to chief investigator’s affidavit, she was responding to a domestic violence call when a different incident was reported. A woman had called the police, claiming that there was a car blocking the road. A man was running in the street, saying that the car was about to explode.
Shelby was the first office to arrive on the scene. According to the affidavit, she walked towards the car, and checked the driver’s side, then moved on to check the passenger’s side of the car. After clearing the vehicle, she spotted Crutcher and went over to talk.
The statement mentions that Crutcher did not answer any of Shelby’s question, and was apparently mumbling to himself.
The Crutcher family attorney pointed out that the statement shows that Shelby had no reason to suspect Crutcher was going to grab a gun from the car, since she had already determined it was clear.
Now, the trial has to weigh on the evidence, to determine whether or not Shelby truly had a reason to act the way she did. Then, they will be able to pass the sentence.
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