Tulsa Officer Charged With Manslaughter For Terence Crutcher Death

Tulsa Officer Charged With Manslaughter For Terence Crutcher Death

by Elijah C. Watson
September 22, 2016 6:07 PM

Tulsa Officer Charged With Manslaughter For Terence Crutcher Death

The Tulsa police officer that fatally shot an unarmed man has now been charged with manslaughter.

In a report from NPR a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Department officer that shot and killed Terence Crutcher. She is being charged with first degree manslaughter in the case, according to Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.

“Despite the heightened tensions felt by all, which seemingly beg for an emotional response and reaction, our community has consistently demonstrated a willingness to respect the judicial process,” Kunzweiler said at a news conference.

Announcement of the charge comes six days after the incident, which was captured on video by a police helicopter camera and dashboard cameras.

Originally, officers had said that Shelby shot and killed Crutcher after he ignored officers’ commands to raise his hands, and reached into a stalled SUV in the middle of a road in north Tulsa.

However, the released footage from both the helicopter and dashboard shows that Crutcher had his hands up during the entire incident, and was still shot.

When the Tulsa Police Department released police videos of the moments around Crutcher’s death, Chief Chuck Jordan said the footage was “very disturbing; it’s very difficult to watch.”

A law enforcement affidavit in support of the charge against Shelby states the following.

“Officer Shelby reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted. Although Mr. Crutcher was wearing baggy clothes, Officer Shelby was not able to see any weapons or bulges indicating [a] weapon was present.”

Under Oklahoma law first degree manslaughter includes the killing of another person “perpetrated without a design,” and in the heat of passion — but in a “cruel and unusual manner” or with a dangerous weapon.

Shelby’s bond has been set at $50,000.

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