Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Tulsa police officer acquitted in fatal shooting of unarmed man

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa cop who was charged with manslaughter in September 2016 for the shooting death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, was acquitted by a jury on Wednesday, sparking immediate protests.

At a Thursday morning press conference, Crutcher's family members and their attorneys, Damario Solomon-Simmons and Benjamin Crump, and area pastors not only questioned Tulsa police investigators' handling of the shooting by Officer Betty Shelby but also the department's police practices in general.

"Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this hard time".

Following Shelby's acquittal, protesters gathered outside the Tulsa County Courthouse holding signs and shouting "No justice, no peace, no racist police".

Shelby could be seen running out of the courthouse after the verdict as protests began.

Bynum said the city has has to admit that a divide exists and we have a long way to go to fix that. "But I can tell you that jurors seem very reluctant to second-guess the split-second life-or-death decisions of an on-duty police officer who shot and killed someone".

The trial focused on whether deadly force was warranted. "So for the city of Tulsa to state we're all one and we'll all come together, I beg to differ". "There was precise evidence that said she was guilty". They debated for nine hours before delivering the verdict.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. - Defense files for mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct, prosecutors decline to comment unless in open court.

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"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 added. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner... I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm.

Tulsa's mayor is also speaking out after Shelby's verdict. “It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically.”. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers in making our community safer.

At that rally, Crutchers family called for one concrete change: For city leadership to block Shelby from returning to her job.

The superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools has released a statement. "Even as we struggle with the discomfort of confronting issues around race, justice, and equity, we must set the best example possible for our kids".

Terence Crutcher's father, Rev. Joey Crutcher echoed her remarks in a statement after the announcement.

"The facts were there, all the elements of manslaughter were there", she said. She said she was taught during training if a suspect reaches into a vehicle, an officer does not let them pull their arm back because they might be holding a gun. "Terence's hands were up, Terence was not an imminent threat, Terence did not attack her, Terence did not charge at her, Terence was not the aggressor. I appreciate the jurors' service to our community and respect their verdict", Bynum said.

"It's unbelievable to me that in this day and age, black men are still expected to obey and if you do not obey, you suffer the consequences".

The family concluded by saying Terence Crutcher was the real victim, and they feel like due process was not served.

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