Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter in man’s death
TULSA, Okla. — Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have filed first-degree manslaughter charges against the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges Thursday against officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Dashcam and aerial footage of the shooting and its aftermath showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his arms in the air.
The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window.
Tulsa police say Crutcher did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement on Thursday:
I pray this decision provides some peace to the Crutcher family and the people of Tulsa, but we must remain patient as the case works its way through the justice system, where a jury likely will be asked to decide whether officer Betty Shelby is guilty of the crime. And we must remember that in our justice system, officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.
No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death.
I want to compliment Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler as well as the citizens of Tulsa for keeping peace and order during this difficult time. I continue to ask that all of us keep the Crutcher and Shelby families in our prayers.