Tulsa Police Officer Found Not Guilty In Terrance Crutcher’s Death

Betty Jo Shelby was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter by an Oklahoma jury on Wednesday.

May 18, 2017

Betty Jo Shelby, a white Tulsa police officer, was found not guilty in the death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old black man, The New York Times reports.

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The jury, which was composed of eight women and four men, and included four black jurors, delivered the not guilty verdict after deliberating for around nine hours on Wednesday. In a statement following the verdict, Terence Crutcher's father, Joseph Crutcher, said, "I have four grandchildren that are at home that has lost their daddy. I said I would accept whatever the verdict was, and I’m going to do that. But let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.”

Shelby was charged in September 2016, shortly after the shooting. Video released by the Tulsa Police Department showed Shelby firing a fatal shot into Crutcher's chest as he stood next to his vehicle.

During the trial, Shelby testified on her own behalf, telling the jury that she believed Crutcher was reaching for a gun and responded according to her training. “I fired my gun at Mr. Crutcher because I was fearing for my life,” she said in the court room on Monday.

The not guilty verdict led to a demonstration outside the Tulsa courthouse, as protesters chanted "Hands up, don't shoot!" and "Not justice, no peace!" Tulsa World reports that demonstration then marched to the hotel where they believed Shelby was staying.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released a statement on Wednesday night after the verdict: "Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner."

Tulsa Police Officer Found Not Guilty In Terrance Crutcher’s Death