Tulsa cop who shot and killed unarmed Black man quits the force

Photo: Tulsa (Oklahoma) Police Department

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer acquitted of fatally shooting an unarmed Black man, submitted her resignation from the force Friday.

She quit nearly two months after a jury acquitted her of manslaughter for the September 2016 death of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed when she shot him on a Tulsa street.

Shelby, who is 43 and White, will leave the Tulsa police department effective Aug. 3, she said in a statement.

She returned to work less than a week after her May 17 acquittal, but said she’s had trouble adjusting to desk duty.

“Since being reinstated, I have found that sitting behind a desk, isolated from all of my fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa, is just not for me,” she said.

“As I have stated before, the incident with Terence Crutcher was a tragedy for everyone involved, and I am sorry he lost his life.”

Shelby pulled over when she saw Crutcher, 40, parked in the middle of a road on Sept. 16.

She said in court that Crutcher — whose hands were seen sticking up in surveillance video — was not obeying her commands, he appeared to be going for a gun and she feared for her life.

Shelby also said Crutcher appeared to be high, and an autopsy showed he had PCP in his system.

Police didn’t find a gun in his car, however, and prosecutors said he wasn’t a threat nor was he aggressive.

In mid-June Crutcher’s family filed a civil suit in federal court against Shelby and the city of Tulsa.

Attorneys said at the time they were seeking $75,000 in damages as well as an investigation into Tulsa police shootings.

Shelby has argued the decision had nothing to do with race.

“What I based everything on was his actions, his behaviors,” she told CBS “60 Minutes” in June. “Race had nothing to do with my decision making.”

She said Friday she still feels bad for Crutcher’s family and the rift in the Tulsa community her action sparked.

“I pray for healing for his family,” she said in the statement. “I will continue to pray for the unity of our community, the safety of our citizens and our police officers.”

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks

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