Tulsa cop acquitted in fatal shooting of unarmed motorist
By Jennifer Cruz
A portion of the deadly encounter was captured on both dash cam footage and video from a police helicopter hovering above. (Photo: Tulsa Police Department)
After deliberating for more than eight hours Wednesday, jurors acquitted Tulsa Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby of first-degree manslaughter, a charge connected to the shooting death of an unarmed motorist last year that many believed to be predicated on racial bias rather than immediate danger.
The court asked jurors to decide whether Shelby acted in a manner that was inexcusable or unjustified, or whether the motorist, Terence Crutcher, died as a result of his own actions. The case fueled tensions over race relations, as Shelby is white and Crutcher was black. However, Shelby has maintained that she acted out of fear surrounding the totality of the circumstances and that race was not a factor or otherwise contributed to her decision to pull the trigger.
Crutcher’s family was understandably upset over the verdict. His father, Rev. Joey Crutcher, said he thinks Shelby “got away with murder.”
During deliberations, the defense team requested a mistrial, but the judge overruled the request. About two hours before deliberations ended, jurors also asked if they could explain their decision, but their request was