After deliberating for nine hours on Wednesday, a jury has found Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby not guilty of 1st-degree manslaughter in the 2016 shooting death of unarmed black motorist Terence Crutcher.
According to KTUL News, jurors sent the judge a note asking if they could make a statement when they delivered the verdict, but the judge said no and advised them that they were free to discuss the case after the trial. It was reported that jurors were crying as the verdict was read.
Crutcher’s family called the verdict a disappointment, and called the police department “corrupt.” Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said her brother did not attack Shelby and didn’t deserve to be shot.
“Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor,” she said.
An attorney for the Crutcher family, Benjamin Crump, also expressed his disappointment with the verdict and stressed that the trial’s outcome was part of a disturbing trend.
“The list just goes on and on, of unarmed African American men being killed by white police officers, and they get away with it,” Crump said.
As we previously reported, last September Terence Crutcher, 40, was fatally shot and killed after police responded to reports of a stalled vehicle. Shelby’s account says that Crutcher was combative and erratic, prompting her to call for back up. Another squad car arrived on the scene, capturing the encounter on dash cam video. Crutcher’s family says he was waiting for help to come.
Released video shows Crutcher raising his hands as he walked to his vehicle, and released audio recorded Crutcher saying that Crutcher looked like a “bad dude.”
While many have said that racism played a role in the unarmed man’s death, Shelby says that wasn’t case.
She has consistently blamed Crutcher’s actions, saying that he seemed to be high on drugs and did not respond to police commands as he walked toward his vehicle.
“I feared for my life” she said in court. “I did everything I could to stop this. Crutcher’s death is his fault.”
In the wake of Shelby’s acquittal, Twitter is sounding off in disgust.
No justice; no peace.