Betty Shelby, the Tulsa police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man previous year, was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter.
The jury was composed of eight women and four men.
Police said Crutcher failed to obey commands, and Shelby testified she thought Crutcher was reaching for something in his SUV. “I have four grandchildren that are home now without their daddy.” said Terence Crutcher’s father continued by saying that he believes Shelby got away with murder.
In this September 16, 2016, image made from video provided by police, Terence Crutcher, left, with his arms held up, is pursued by police officers as he walks next to his stalled SUV moments before he was shot and killed by one of the officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The trial against 43-year-old Shelby began May 10 with prosecutors outlining how the the former Tulsa Police Department officer came in contact with Crutcher and then escalated a situation that should’ve remained as a routine traffic stop.
Shelby told the jury she believed Crutcher may have been reaching into the vehicle through a partially open window in search of a weapon.
Demonstrators chanted, “No Justice, No Peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!” in the streets.
Shelby was seen running from the courthouse.
A toxicology report revealed that Crutcher was on two hallucinogenic drugs, including PCP, during the encounter.
“She’s going to self-guess herself and get herself killed or somebody else”, she said.
Protests over Crutcher’s death and Shelby’s verdict have been peaceful.
The confrontation between Shelby and Crutcher was caught on video. Another officer shot him with a Taser dart at about the same moment the fatal shot was sacked from Shelby’s service weapon.
Defense attorneys brought out the door of Crutcher’s SUV during their closing, said the DA filed charges too quickly and called his actions hypocritical during the trial. Crutcher was found to be unarmed after the shooting.
“Terence was not the aggressor”, said Tiffany Crutcher, Terence Crutcher’s twin sister. “Instead of giving him a hand, they gave him bullets”.
Were not making this a race issue; it is a race issue, said Rodney Goss, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in north Tulsa, where a Thursday news conference turned into an impromptu rally, with dozens of cheering and praying residents sitting in the pews. It devastated members of Crutcher’s family, who say they’re outraged by the outcome.
Gerard Lindsey, chairman of Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, said there were no winners following the verdict. She said she had forgotten that detail at the time. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically..
Tulsa leaders on Thursday called for a peaceful response to a jury’s decision to acquit a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, and said more must be done to fight racial divisions in Oklahoma’s second-largest city. “It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers”.