Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Shelby was indicted on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in relation to the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, 40, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Steve Kunzweiler, the Tulsa County district attorney, announced the charges following an investigation.
“In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determine that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against the Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby is warranted,” Kunzweiler stated.
In response Van Jones, president and co-founder of Dream Corps, says, “Yesterday’s indictment of Betty Shelby, the police officer who killed Terence Crutcher, is an important step toward healing and justice. No human being should play the roles of judge, jury, and executioner in one moment. The violence against Black communities in the last week only deepens the pain and frustration African Americans have with our biased criminal justice system.” Dream Corps is a social justice accelerator for transformative campaigns, ideas and innovations.
Crutcher approached his SUV with his arms raised late Friday when officers arrived where his car had stalled. The incident was caught on police helicopter and dashcam video.
The video footage, released on Monday, September 19 showed Crutcher slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned and left running in the middle of the road at around 7:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. EST).
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told press that Crutcher was uncooperative and that’s when Shelby fired at Crutcher. Jordan also shared officer Tyler Turnbough tasered Crutcher before Shelby fired.
A chief investigator for the district attorney’s office said in an affidavit 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 held up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”
A warrant was issued for Shelby’s arrest and early today, Sept. 23, 2016, and she was booked into a Tulsa County jail and released on $50,000 bond, according to court documents.
Shelby has been with the Tulsa Police department since 2011. Since this killing, she had been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Jones continues, “Good people on both sides of this divide have legitimate fears and frustrations. We cannot let the reservoir of empathy run dry in this country. We must find a way to work together to stop this madness.”