Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Tulsa police chief: Protests to remain peaceful

Tulsa police chief: Protests to remain peaceful

Earlier, a protest had dispersed but some demonstrators gathered later a short distance away from the courthouse where the trial of officer Betty Jo Shelby had been held.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office said that Crutcher had 96 nanograms per milliliter of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his bloodstream at the time of his death. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically.

Crutcher's family was quickly ushered out of the courtroom sobbing and wailing after the decision.

Lawyers for Shelby have said she believed that Crutcher may have been trying to reach through a partially open window for a weapon in the vehicle when she shot him. "So we are moving forward together - Tulsans from all parts of the city, police officers and everyday citizens - with a unified objective to make this a better place for all of us". Crutcher's family was present and broke down in tears as they left the courtroom. The jury comprised eight women and four men and included three African-Americans.

The comments came Thursday after a jury acquitted Tulsa officer Betty Shelby the night before on a manslaughter charge.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Shannon McMurray called on jurors to acquit Shelby, saying police have to make split-second decisions in tense situations.

The mayor spoke of the unfair assumption some have that black people will respond with violence to news like the Crutcher shooting or Shelby acquittal.

Shelby's attorneys argued that in the two minutes before cameras began recording the encounter, Shelby repeatedly ordered Crutcher to stop walking away from her and get on the ground.

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An autopsy showed PCP was in Crutcher's system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV.

The incident, captured from several angles on video, was one of a number of police shootings of unarmed black men across the United States in recent years that have heightened concerns about police misconduct. "There's still a family that has dealt with a tragedy here, the Crutchers, and we still extend our deepest sympathies to them".

He continued on to outline a series of goals and initiatives he hopes will improve relations in the city, including a citizen advisory board in each division of the police department and rolling out body cams for every officer by the end of the year.

Marq Lewis, organizer of the local civil rights group We The People Oklahoma, said the verdict was a blow to Tulsa's black community.

We asked police dispatchers if they had any arrests but they say they're not sure. The shooting led to the departure of the sheriff.

It's unclear what the acquittal means for the fractured relationship between police and District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.

A Tulsa jury convicted the then-74-year-old Bates of second-degree manslaughter and he was sentenced to four years in prison. An affidavit accused her of "becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted".

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