Jury acquits Tulsa police officer in fatal shooting of unarmed black man

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19 May, 2017

She also said, "I did everything I could to stop this".

"We are prepared for anything but we are expecting exactly what we got last night - peaceful protests", Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told a news conference. "We all are. It's a true and just verdict". "It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. When will the police change policy?"

On Wednesday, a jury acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man a year ago, claiming she fired out of fear for her own safety.

Following the verdict, Shelby made a silent exit as Crutcher's family members tearfully left the courtroom.

The jury of 12 - eight women and four men, including two black women and one black man - will not be allowed to leave the Tulsa County Courthouse until they reach a verdict unanimously or they are unable to, in which a hung jury or mistrial would be declared.

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

"Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder", Crutcher's father, the Rev. Joey Crutcher, said after the verdict was announced.

In this September 24, 2016, file photo, a man holds a copy of the program for the funeral of Terence Crutcher during services to honor him in Tulsa, Okla., Crutcher, 40, was fatally shot on September 16 by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby. "I've been harassed all night long by the citizens of Tulsa", she said.

Shelby's attorney, Shannon McMurray, said that her client was "elated" with the jury's decision. "I fired my gun at Mr. Crutcher because I was fearing for my life", she said in the court room on Monday.

Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted. In police videos from the incident, Crutcher can be seen walking away from officers with his hands in the air before he is shot. Shelby maintained Crutcher did not listen to her commands to get on his knees; she said she shot him out of fear for her safety. His twin sister Tiffany said: "Terence was not the aggressor, Betty Shelby was the aggressor". And after she murdered by brother all of the officers involved with the Tulsa Police Department tried to cover for her. Toxicology tests showed he had PCP in his system. Shelby claimed Crutcher repeatedly reached into his pocket. He's worked closely with Police Chief Chuck Jordan, also white, who won praise for the quick release of video of the Crutcher shooting from police dashboard and helicopter cameras.

"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. 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. The movement has called on people to demand more accountability from law enforcement.

The shooting was among a string of highly publicized officer-involved shooting deaths of African American across the U.S.in recent years. "When will the police change policy?" he asked. The shooting led to the departure of the sheriff.

Shelby, 43, faced up to life in state prison if convicted.

Tulsa police have said Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in his vehicle, which was blocking a road. Tulsa officer Betty Shelby had been charged with manslaughter in the killing of Terence Crutcher. But the reaction in Tulsa was more muted, with protests but no violence.


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