Tulsa officer freed on bond in Terence Crutcher shooting – USA TODAY
An Oklahoma prosecutor says arrangements are being made for the surrender of a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a Tulsa street. (Sept. 22)
The Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man last week turned herself early FridayÂ and was released on $50,000 bond pending her trial, according to the Tulsa County jail records.
Betty Shelby, 42, was booked atÂ 1:11 a.m. Friday and spent 20 minutes in jail before the bond was posted.
Tulsa County District AttorneyÂ Steve Kunzweiler charged Shelby, who is white, with “first-degree manslaughterâheat of passion”Â in the killing ofÂ Terence Crutcher, 40, who wasÂ approached by police Sept. 16 as he stood in the middle of a road with a car that appeared to have stalled.
The district attorney said ShelbyÂ âreacted unreasonably” duringÂ the confrontation.
The death drewÂ nationwide and even global attention to Tulsa as a debate brewedÂ over whether Crutcher was reaching for something inside his car window at the time of the incident. Crutcher’s family members say they have viewed video of the shooting and that the windows were closed.
According to an affidavit, Shelby was responding as backup to a domestic call when she came upon Crutcher in the road with a vehicle blocking eastbound and westbound lanes. Shelby exited her vehicle and approached Crutcher, who was mumbling to himself and would not answer any questions, the affidavit said.
Crutcher kept putting his hands in his pockets and taking them out and then walked toward his vehicle with his hands up, according to the document. Shelby then pulled out her weapon as Office Tyler Turnbough arrived on the scene, announcing he was ready with a stun gun, according to the affidavit.
Crutcher then reached in a car window, after which Turnbough applied the stun gun and Shelby fired into Crutcher’s right lung area, sending him falling to the ground, the affidavit reads.
Terence Crutcher was unarmed and had his hands in the air before being shot by police.
Video provided by Newsy
“The officers at the scene found no weapons on or near Mr. Crutcher and no weapons were found near, inside, or in the vicinity of the vehicle,” according to the document. “Officer Shelby made statements that she was in fear of her life and thought that Mr. Crutcher was going to kill her. When she began following Mr. Crutcher to the vehicle with her duty weapon drawn, she was yelling for him to stop and get on his knees repeatedly.”
Lawyers for Crutcher’s family said the affidavit includes key points that they believe prove Shelby did not feel threatened byÂ Crutcher.
The document indicates Shelby walked around the vehicle or cleared it, making sure there were no weapons inside that could pose harm to her, Crutcher family attorney Melvin Hall said during a press conference Wednesday.
Hall also pointed out that the family legal team had blown up a photo of the scene that they say shows the driver’s side window is up and has blood on it, which they say disputes Shelby’s claim Crutcher reached into the vehicle before she fired.
Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said the family is gratified about the charges but watchful because, she said, many similar cases wind up with no convictions.
“We take solace with the outpouring of support for our community,” Tiffany Crutcher said Thursday. “We are so thankful his spirit will live on in the many lives he touched over the years.”
In a statement, Gov. Mary Fallin called on Oklahomans to weigh the development peacefully.
“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,” Fallin said. “And we must remember that in our justice system, officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.”
The charges were able to be announced so quickly probably because in Oklahoma, a district attorney can opt to bring charges without the convening of a grand jury, said A. Scott Bolden, managing partner of the Washington-based Reed Smith firm, and a former assistant district attorney with New York County.
“I’m not surprised at the swiftness of the decision,” Bolden said. “In cases of such a high profile nature, and withÂ so many official videos taken by the police, that coupledÂ with investigators, local D.A. investigators and even with some help from the feds, you can probably make a determination within days of what youâve observed.”
Legal analyst Mark McBride, based in Beverly Hills, said he believes the charge should have been murder and that Shelby was given a more lenient charge because she is a woman.
“What are the male cops in the Tulsa Police Department thinking?” McBridge asked. “I should come back as a pretty white woman from Bel Air in my next life. It would have been murder if it had been a male police officer.”