Tulsa DA: Officer Betty Shelby charged with first-degree manslaughter

Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced Thursday afternoon that Police Officer Betty Shelby will be charged with first-degree manslaughter, a felony, in the shooting of Terence Crutcher.

“In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determined that the filing of a felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby is warranted,” Kunzweiler stated. Kunzweiler appeard to be shaking as he added, “Officer Shelby, though now charged, is presumed to be innocent until a judge or a jury determines otherwise.” ABC News published video of the statement:

Fox 23 reporter Tiffany Alaniz reports that an arrest warrant was issued for Shelby.

If convicted, Shelby would face a minimum of four years:

Shelby, who had training in drug recognition, has claimed she believed Crutcher was on drugs at the time of the incident. Police did find PCP in the car which might explain Crutcher’s silence and refusal to obey verbal commands. However that alone obviously wouldn’t justify the shooting.

The key point will be whether or not a jury believes Officer Shelby reasonably feared for her life when Crutcher (allegedly) reached into his car. And whether he did or not is still a contested point. Attorneys for the family claim the windows of his SUV were all the way up at the time (and offered a blown up image as proof) while Shelby’s attorney claims she fired after Crutcher’s hand went inside the open window. No weapon was found on Crutcher and no weapon was found in his car.

Here’s the dashcam video of the incident:

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David Strom 6:31 PM on October 05, 2022