Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Jury finds white cop not guilty in shooting

Stacy Diaz | 19 May, 2017, 06:29

A jury acquitted a white Tulsa police officer of manslaughter charges Wednesday night in her 2016 fatal shooting of a black man.

Shelby claimed she shot the 40-year-old father because she thought he was reaching for a gun, although police footage shows Crutcher had his hands in the air.

Crutcher's family was dismayed by the jury's decision, alleging the police department was corrupt.

About 30 minutes after the verdict, Mayor G.T. Bynum announced he and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan would hold a press conference Thursday morning. About 100 demonstrators gathered in a plaza outside the courthouse on Wednesday evening in peaceful protest at the verdict.

During the proceedings, Shelby said that she acted according to her training because she had reasonable fear that the victim was reaching for a gun. She also said that in the video of the shooting, the officers appeared to be more concerned for Shelby than for Crutcher, as he lay wounded.

Shelby's lawyers argued that before the police cameras began recording, she repeatedly told Crutcher to stop walking away and get on the ground.

"I commend these jurors for their courage to step into a courtroom", he said.

Defense Attorney Shannon McMurray told jurors Crutcher "made those choices" and that Shelby was in "complete control" when the shooting occurred.

Crutcher's family was understandably upset over the verdict.

Their heartbreak echoed that of families across the USA following a spate of killings of black people that has fueled a national debate over race and policing. "'Although Mr. Crutcher was wearing baggy clothes, Officer Shelby was not able to see any weapons or bulges indicating and (sic) weapon was present".

Crutcher's family and supporters complained after the defense rested that their relative and his past transgressions were being put on trial, not Shelby.

A Tulsa jury convicted the then-74-year-old Bates of second-degree manslaughter and he was sentenced to four years in prison. Some were seen holding signs in support of Betty Shelby.

Here's everything you need to know about the shooting of Terence Crutcher.

Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by police Officer Betty Shelby.

Shelby's attorneys have said Crutcher refused Shelby's commands to lie down during a two-minute period before police cameras recorded the shooting. They chanted: "No justice, no peace, no racist police".

An autopsy showed Mr Crutcher did have PCP in his system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV. An affidavit accused her of "becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted".

"And now that we've reached a verdict, Tulsa's gonna have to figure out how to get its arms around this and be able to move forward in a positive way", Lindsey said. As Shelby approached the scene, she found Crutcher wandering around near the vehicle, rambling incoherently and placing his hands in his pockets, despite numerous warnings not to do so.