Tulsa Officer Charged With Manslaughter for Shooting of Terence Crutcher

CRIMINAL CHARGES — Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby
who fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed black man, after his car was found abandoned in the middle of the road was formally charged with manslaughter by the Tulsa County District Attorney after an investigation in which more than 50 witnesses were questioned. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-oklahoma-idUSKCN11S2LW

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Federal, state, and local authorities have launched investigations into the officer-involved shooting. Terence’s twin sister has urged prosecutors to immediately press charges against Shelby, a five-year veteran with Tulsa Police. Tulsa Police almost immediately released video and audio recordings of the Crutcher shooting. Comment by chopper officer: “He looks like a bad dude” complicates issue. Department pledges objective investigation. Attorneys for both the Crutcher family and Shelby have laid out conflicting accounts about what happened on the night of September 16. Tulsa Police told the Associated Press the county district attorney’s office will make the decision as to whether the shooting was justified. The U.S Justice Department has also launched a parallel civil rights investigation.

police-terrence-crutcher-tulsaTulsa Police told KOKI-TV that a vial of PCP was found in Crutcher’s SUV after the shooting. Autopsy and toxicology results have not yet been released. According to the Associated Press, court records show a Tulsa resident named Terence Crutcher had a 1996 run-in with the law, in which he was given a six-month suspended sentence for carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer.

Shelby has been accused of using excessive force twice during her career, KOTV reports. She has also received four letters of commendation and an Oklahoma meritorious service award, according to KOTV.

Terence Crutcher: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tulsa officer late to career, had de-escalation training. 

September 23, 2016 TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Tulsa police officer accused of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man took a roundabout path toward her dream job of joining law enforcement, with stops as a convenience store clerk, an Air National Guard member and a teaching assistant. Family members and colleagues say Betty Jo Shelby, 42, was an engaged community member, a churchgoer and cool-headed enough to be tapped as a field-training officer even though she didn’t join the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office until 2007 and the city’s force until 2011. Despite completing de-escalation training, Shelby “reacted unreasonably” when she fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16, according to an affidavit prosecutors filed with the first-degree manslaughter charge. Shelby, who posted bond early Friday, faces four years to life in prison if convicted. Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, said Friday that she had a reputation of having a “cool head on her shoulders.” “This wasn’t her first week on the job,” Wood said. “Betty is a field-training officer. The department has picked her to train new officers, and people will tell you this isn’t Betty Shelby to overreact to a situation.”

Shelby, who is white, was headed to a domestic violence call when she encountered Crutcher’s SUV abandoned on a city street, straddling the center line. Shelby did not activate her dashboard camera when she first came across Crutcher and his SUV. But other video footage shows Crutcher walking away from Shelby and toward his SUV with his arms in the air. The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Wood said Crutcher escalated the situation by not communicating with Shelby, disobeying her commands and walking away from her. “One thing about de-escalation, that’s a two-way street,” Wood said. “You have to at least have some open communication. There was none with Mr. Crutcher.”

Mark Sawa, a retired major with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in Austin, Texas, who trains police officers on use of force, said: “If somebody is not contained, if they’re walking away from you, your opportunity to defuse that encounter is greatly diminished if they’re mobile and not stationary.” He cautioned that he couldn’t fully assess how the situation got out of hand, as no video is available until after Shelby already has her gun drawn and Crutcher is walking away from her with his hands in the air. Crutcher died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the state medical examiner’s office said Friday, adding that the full autopsy and toxicology reports were not finished. See full article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/usworld/ap/tulsa-officer-late-to-career-had-de-escalation-training/article_23c78197-b200-5433-815a-ef152e8dddcd.html

police-tulsa-terrence-crutcherDASHCAM AND CHOPPER VIDEOS

 5 DISCREPANCIES FROM TERENCE CRUTCHER’S DEATH. September 22, 2016.

TULSA POLICE OFFICER SHARES HER SIDE OF THE STORY

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Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby offered her side of the story in the fatal encounter. In dashcam and helicopter video released by police, Crutcher appears to have his hands up moments before he is shot by Shelby. Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, maintains that Crutcher refused to follow more than two dozen commands and that he reached into the open window of the car before Shelby perceived a threat and shot him.”

HUSBAND IS ALSO A COP, WHO WAS IN THE POLICE HELICOPTER AT THE TIME OF THE SHOOTING 

TRUMP SUGGESTS OFFICER CHOKED.He looked like a really good man.” h

CLINTON CALLS SITUATION UNBEARABLE CALLS FOR NATION STANDARDS:  While there are “good, honorable, cool-headed police officers” working across the country, “we can do better.” “We have got to tackle systemic racism. This horrible shooting again. How many times do we have to see this in our country? “This is just unbearable And it needs to be intolerable.”

TERRENCE CRUTCHER HAD PCP IN HIS SYSTEM, AUTOPSY SAYS

An unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Tulsa had the drug PCP in his system when he died last month, according to a medical examiner’s report.

Terence Crutcher had “acute phencyclidine intoxication” when he was shot by officer Betty Shelby, according to a report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma, which was released Tuesday.

If convicted, Shelby, who was released on bond after her arrest, could face a minimum four-year prison term. During a court appearance in September, one of her attorneys entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

Another of Shelby’s attorneys, Scott Wood, said in an email Tuesday that the autopsy test result “confirms what Officer Shelby surmised the night of the shooting from Mr. Crutcher’s appearance and non-compliant behavior.”

“Does the fact he was under the influence of pcp in and of itself justify the shooting? Of course not,” Wood wrote in an email. “It does however, help to explain his behavior, and that she was correct to consider him unpredictable, and therefore a significant threat to her safety. One of the recognized risks of pcp is that it can lead to self destructive behavior.  It is another piece of the fact pattern which led to Mr. Crutcher’s death.”

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