Betty Shelby of the Tulsa Police Department has been charged with first-degree murder of Terence Crutcher.
Last week, a man named Terence Crutcher was on his way home from taking classes at a community college when his SUV broke down. Shortly after, police arrived at the scene. What should have been a casual chat and offered assistance soon turned into a deadly incident, when officer Betty Shelby of the Tulsa Police Department shot and killed Crutcher.
According to initial reports, Shelby shot Crutcher because he “refused to follow commands given by the officers.” Dash cam footage, however, shows Crutcher walking to his driver side window with his arms in the air. After he was shot and killed, police found no weapon on his person or in his vehicle.
Once again, citizens are enraged. The unjust police shootings of African-American citizens is becoming an epidemic in the U.S., and residents aren’t the only ones to notice. Perhaps cops are shooting first and asking questions later because they haven’t been taught how to de-escalate situations.
An important development took place on Thursday afternoon when the Tusla County District Attorney’s office held a press conference and announced a warrant for Officer Betty Shelby. CNN reports that Shelby is being charged with felony manslaughter in the first degree after “unlawfully and unnecessarily” shooting Crutcher after he did not comply with her “lawful orders.” The criminal complaint against Shelby says her “fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting” Crutcher.
Regarding the charges, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler stated:
“We reviewed the facts of the allegations. It is our responsibility to determine if the filing of a criminal charge is justified under the law.”
“I don’t know why things happen in this world the way they do. We need to pray for wisdom and guidance on each of our respective paths in life. Each of us at the end of our days will have to account for our own actions. The only way I know to walk my path is to try every day to pray and to serve my fellow citizens so that he or she may be lifted up,” he added.
— Tiffany Alaniz (@TiffanyAlaniz) September 22, 2016
Chief of the Tulsa Police Department, Chuck Jordan, has contacted the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and has asked for them to conduct their own separate civil rights investigation into the shooting. He told the press:
“I want to assure our community and assure all of you, and people across the nation looking at this, we will achieve justice.”
According to USUncut, Officer Shelby believes that she was correct to shoot Crutcher because he allegedly failed to obey her commands. As a trained drug recognition expert, she maintains that he was under the influence of drugs when she encountered him. An autopsy report should provide concise answers.
This isn’t the first time Officer Shelby has received excessive force complaints. Two were lodged against her during the course of her career, but both were determined to be unfounded. A thorough investigation will reveal whether or not the officer was in the right regarding the Crutcher case.
Attorneys for Crutcher’s family are very “happy charges have been brought” against the officer that killed Terence. Additionally, they will be seeking a “vigorous prosecution” of this case that results in a conviction.
Said Tiffany Crutcher, Terence’s twin sister:
“The chain breaks here. We’re going to break the chains of police brutality. We know the history.”
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