Closing Arguments Begin In Trial Of Oklahoma Cop Who Killed Terence Crutcher

Photo via the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Department

Closing arguments for the manslaughter trial of Betty Shelby are scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Shelby, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, back in September 2016, faces four years to life in prison if convicted of manslaughter. Shelby has reportedly taken the stand in her own defense throughout the weeklong trial, testifying that her training led her to shoot Crutcher because she believed he was reaching for a weapon from his car. Following the incident, it was revealed that Crutcher was unarmed and no weapon had been found in his vehicle.

Three videos of the incident were also released after the shooting, two of which were dashboard cameras from the cop cars. According to Rodney Goss, a pastor at the Morning Star Baptist Church in north Tulsa, the footage contradicted claims that Crutcher was not complying with police officers.

The video showed Crutcher only walking towards his vehicle and never reaching into it at all. Prior to that Crutcher had walked towards the officers with his hands raised to ask them for help after his car had broken down on the highway.


Shelby has denied that the shooting was because of Crutcher’s race, saying that his behavior and refusal to listen to her commands is what led to her deciding to pull the trigger. However, prosecutors countered that drug use and ignoring commands does not justify the use of deadly force against a civilian by a police officer.