"NOT GUILTY" in Verdict in Shelby Trial

Ruben Ruiz
May 30, 2017

Shelby, who fatally shot an unarmed black man previous year, was found not guilty later Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter.

Deliberations are underway Wednesday afternoon in the manslaughter trial for Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who faces up to a life sentence for fatally shooting Terence Crutcher Sept. 16.

Crutcher's sister, Tiffany, reportedly said after the verdict: "Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor".

But in his closing remarks, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray challenged the defense argument that Shelby shot Crutcher as he appeared to be reaching into the vehicle.

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

Shelby had been charged with first-degree manslaughter. At left is Leanna Crutcher, the mother of Terence Crutcher. At right is Crutcher family attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons.

Prosecutors asked Shelby on cross-examination why she, too, didn't use a Taser rather than a gun.

Shelby's lawyer, Scott Wood, however, claimed Crutcher refused to answer Shelby's questions about his SUV, walked towards the back of the police vehicle with his hands up, and then put his hands back in his pockets.

In another video filmed inside a police auto, Mr Crutcher was seen walking away from officers and toward his vehicle with his hands up before he approached the door on the driver's side.

The case in Oklahoma sparked criticisms that Shelby, who is white, overreacted when she shot Crutcher, who was black.

McMurray said the officer was "elated" that the jury found her not guilty.

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Outside the courthouse, a crowd of about 100 had gathered.

Mr Crutcher's family was ushered out of the courtroom after the verdict.

"There's still a family that has dealt with a tragedy here, the Crutchers, and we still extend our deepest sympathies to them", he said.

The jury was made up of eight women and four men - including three black jurors.

Jurors will then to decide if Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby went too far September 16 when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. Videos of the incident, which captured several angles of the shooting, showed police with their guns pointed at Crutcher as he calmly walked toward his auto with his hands above his head.

In the courthouse on Monday, the officer claimed she shot Crutcher because she "feared for her life" and that she "did everything I could to stop this". Police found PCP in Crutcher's auto, and an autopsy report later revealed that Crutcher had the drug in his system at the time of his death.

Crutcher's family accused police of trying to "demonize" the victim over the drug possession (he had a vial of PCP with him at the time of the incident) to take away attention from the fact that the officer did not find a weapon inside his SUV.

Protesters could be heard yelling "No justice, no peace", in one video posted to social media. "No Racist Police", the demonstrators chanted. Marq Lewis, a local Oklahoma organizer, said.

The shooting was among a string of highly publicized officer-involved shooting deaths of African American across the U.S.in recent years.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he respected the jury's decision but that the city still has racial disparities to change.

Tulsa has a long history of hard race relations dating back to a 1921 race riot that left about 300 black residents dead. "Nobody held his hand, nobody said 'hey, are you okay?' He had to lay there alone". The shooting led to the departure of the sheriff. Police asked protesters not to block streets when some stepped into an intersection.

Other reports by GizPress

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