Tulsa Officer Charged With First-Degree Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Terence Crutcher

TULSA, Okla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Prosecutors charged a white Oklahoma police officer with first-degree manslaughter Thursday, less than a week after she killed an unarmed black man on a city street and just days after police released graphic videos, saying in court documents the officer “reacted unreasonably.”

Tulsa officer Betty Shelby fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. The affidavit filed with the charge says Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands held up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she over reacted.”

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said arrangements were being made for Shelby’s surrender.

The swift action in Tulsa stood in contrast to Charlotte, North Carolina, where police refused under mounting pressure Thursday to release video of the shooting of another black man this week and the National Guard was called in to try to a head off a third night of violence. Demonstrations in Tulsa since Crutcher’s death have been consistently peaceful.

Dashcam and aerial footage of the shooting and its aftermath showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his arms in the air. The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window.

But Crutcher’s family immediately discounted that claim, saying the father of four posed no threat to the officers. They also pointed to an enlarged photo from police footage that appears to show Crutcher’s window was rolled up. And police said Crutcher did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle.

The affidavit filed Thursday also indicates that Shelby “cleared the driver’s side front” of Crutcher’s vehicle before she began interacting with Crutcher, suggesting she may have known there was no gun on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

The affidavit says Shelby told police homicide investigators that “she was in fear for her life and thought Mr. Crutcher was going to kill her. When she began following Mr. Crutcher to the vehicle with her duty weapon drawn, she was yelling for him to stop and get on his knees repeatedly.”

Crutcher was wearing “baggy clothes” but Shelby “was not able to see any weapons or bulges indicating a weapon was present,” the affidavit states.

Prosecutors offer two possible theories in charging documents: that Shelby killed Crutcher impulsively in a fit of anger or that she wrongly killed him as she sought to detain him. The case first goes to a judge, who will decide whether there is enough evidence for a trial. Lee F. Berlin, a Tulsa-based defense lawyer and a former assistant district attorney in Oklahoma, said prosecutors may at some point decide to move forward with only one of the theories or could present both to jurors and let them decide.

If convicted, Shelby faces between four years and life in prison.

Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said the family was pleased criminal charges were filed and urged a vigorous prosecution that leads to a conviction.

“Our goal now is to ensure that this never happens to another innocent citizen,” Tiffany Crutcher said. “We’re going to break the chains of injustice. We’re going to break the chains of police brutality.”

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said police worked quickly to provide Kunzweiler with the information he needed to decide whether to charge the officer.

“I appreciate their efforts as well as the District Attorney’s usual thorough evaluation of the rules of law for which we are all accountable,” Bartlett said in a written statement. “We will continue to be transparent and ensure the system carries out its responsibility to provide justice.”

Shelby, who joined the Tulsa Police Department in December 2011, was en route to a domestic violence call when she encountered Crutcher’s vehicle abandoned on a city street, straddling the center line. Shelby did not activate her patrol car’s dashboard camera, so no footage exists of what first happened between the two before other officers arrived.

The police footage shows Crutcher approaching the driver’s side of the SUV, then more officers walk up and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle. A man inside a police helicopter overhead says: “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.”

Police Sgt. Dave Walker has said investigators found a vial of the drug PCP in Crutcher’s vehicle. Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, has said that Shelby completed drug-recognition expert training and thought Crutcher was acting like he might be under the influence of PCP.

Attorneys for Crutcher’s family said the family didn’t know whether drugs were found in the SUV, but that even if they were, it wouldn’t justify the shooting.

A toxicology report could take several weeks.

Wood did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment about Shelby being charged.

In the videos, the officers surround Crutcher and he suddenly drops to the ground. A voice heard on the police radio says: “Shots fired!” The officers back away and Crutcher is left unattended on the street for about two minutes before an officer puts on medical gloves and begins to attend to him.

“The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Crutcher are on the hearts and minds of many people in this community,” Kunzweiler said. “It’s important to note that despite the heightened tensions felt by all, which seemingly beg for an emotional response and reaction, our community has consistently demonstrated the willingness to respect the judicial process.”

At least two dozen people gathered outside the courthouse after the district attorney announced the officer was charged. Later, a peaceful rally was held in front of City Hall. Some demonstrators expressed disappointed Shelby wasn’t charged with first-degree murder, but others considered Thursday’s announcement a victory.

“Today we can say without a shadow of a doubt that the system has worked for black lives,” said activist Marq Lewis, an organizer of the civil rights group We the People Oklahoma, which led the rally in front of City Hall. “We are getting something done in Tulsa that no other city is getting done.”

Earlier this year, a former volunteer deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office was sentenced to four years in prison after he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, who was also black and unarmed.

Speaking at an African-American church in Cleveland on Wednesday, Republican presidential nominee Trump raised questions about Crutcher’s death.

“He looked like somebody who was doing what they were asking him to do. And this young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking, I don’t know what she was thinking. It’s very troubling,” Trump said.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also addressed the shootings of Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by police in Charlotte on Tuesday.

“There is still much we don’t know, but we do know it adds two more names to a long list of African-Americans killed by officers,” Clinton said, calling it “unbearable and needs to become intolerable.”

Clinton and Trump also praised law enforcement officers around the country.

“Police officers across our country are serving with extraordinary service, honor and skill,” Clinton said.

“They’re great people, great people. Now great people, you always have problems. You have somebody in there that either makes a mistake that’s bad or that chokes,” Trump said.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. 1996 Shooting with intent to kill — Dismissed
    2001 Petit larceny — Conviction
    2004 Driving while suspended — Conviction
    2005 Driving while suspended, resisting officer — Conviction
    2006 Driving while suspended — Conviction
    Driving with open container — Dismissed
    2006 Trafficking in illegal drugs — Conviction. (He was also charged in that incident with assault on a police officer and resisting, but that was dismissed.)
    2011 Public intoxication (while in prison for drug trafficking) — Conviction
    2012 Public intoxication — Conviction
    Obstructing an officer — Conviction
    2013 DUI — Conviction
    Resisting officer — Conviction
    Open Container — Conviction
    Failure to wear seatbelt — Conviction
    Speeding — Conviction

    Guess who this was?

    1. Max17 says:

      That would be the upstanding Mr. Terrence Cutcher, Esquire, PhD, MD, PCP.
      .
      Tulsa needs to get it’s stuff together and get the officer no-billed unless it wants to end up another Ferguson (unable to staff a police force) or Baltimore (third world hell-hole with a sky-rocketing murder rate). Nothing is to be gained by coddling BLM and other law breakers.

  2. Rick765578 says:

    She would have made a better nurse or school teacher. Oh, well.

  3. Vincent says:

    Hillary’s list of “able” words is growing….deplorable, unbearable, intolerable…but she never mentions IMPEACHABLE, like her husband.

  4. A lot of anti-woman reaction here.

  5. Maximum Autism says:

    D i c k s O u t F o r H a r a m b e ! ! ! !

  6. Coy Coleman says:

    Five minutes in General Population… things will work themselves out.

  7. Bryan Wiley says:

    Why do you think they “OVER-CHARGED” her? So that she is found NOT GUILTY and set free.

    1. Tony Bregano says:

      Truth is, most of these cases against cops that receive national attention because of the ‘racist’ police departments are situations where the cops were justified in using deadly force or an agenda is being pushed. (Soros) This one, however, was absolutely not. No matter what was happening in discussion between this man and the police here, the video clearly shows that man should not have been tasered or shot. Anyone disagreeing with this has to insane or evil.

  8. John Johns says:

    I hate BLM but that cop is murderer, needs to go to prison for a long long time, and is part of our problem

    1. Tony Bregano says:

      Agreed, this was cold-blooded murder or you are blind.

    2. CL says:

      Mr. Johns and Mr. Bergano
      What is really sad is it is extremely clear to anyone both of you have predisposed prejudices that prohibit you from seeing this objectively.
      It is an unfortunate thing that happened, and not a murder. It seems to me the pop of the tazer when the suspects hand disappeared from view most likely caused the female officer to discharge her weapon.

      I know training for deployment, I did not realize a tazer made a pop. Got used to it, but still if you are facing the elephant (a Civil War Soldier reference if you are not familiar) it can be intense.

      Most likely both of you are prima donnas that have never been engaged beyond your dull pointless lives.

  9. John says:

    I got stopped for an illegal U turn at 5:00 AM. For which I was guilty as hell. A young cop, probably first day on the job ran me thru the wringer. My license was from out of state and did not match up on the computer. But finally did. He thought my high blood presure pills were illegal drugs. then he thought two bolts in a plastic bag was crack. I patiently sat there and answered his question. Half an hour I was let go with no ticket. Thats how you handle it. You submit and obey and no problem. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. I have little sympathy for idiots that confront the cops one way or another. When I came up in the 60’s great value was given to being cool. Seems like being cool is a lost art.

  10. Maximum Autism says:

    D i c k s O u t F o r H a r a m b e ! ! ! ! !

  11. elan ruvan says:

    I have seen it before. They hire these lesbian man hating woman, and that’s what you get

    1. Steve C says:

      Female Police officers and females on the front lines in combat is just something i will never agree with, at least in the numbers we are seeing today. Most crime and wars are committed/started by males and its just not compatible with the female physical, emotional, and mental attributes. All of this to meet quotas and EEOC guidelines.

    2. CL says:

      You are aware of very little. She is married, has 3 children. Not exactly the female to fit your predisposed prejudices.

  12. rejecttyranny says:

    Whe they reach for anything, book, gun, skittles, weed, empty your clip. That is great training!

  13. Omalena says:

    …..so Baltimore democrats failed going after 6 mixed race cops so now Charlotte will go after the white female cop.

  14. SIU says:

    When you have an INCOMPETENT person who had zero business wearing the badge in the first place then add BIGOTED tendencies , That’s recipe for exactly this.
    This is not rocket science what we are witnessing. When you have a particular group within the Police department who has LITTLE to NO REGARDS for another race.. this is where we end up.

    You can see endless videos of WHITE FOLKS getting pulled over. Where many of times they are questioning why they are pulled over,,, Then if they are getting arrested are extra mouthy and even keep their hand away from getting CUFFED, but it’s funny how they RIGHTS are respected in a sense of the guns are not out ready to EXECUTE them.

    Its very simple, its NOT Written in the CONSTITUTION that the Cops have the power to Exercise the DEATH Penalty when they feel like it . We live in the land of LAWS where NO ONE is above it . There is a reason we have a Justice System . Where the responsibility of the COPS is to see that the CITIZENS have their rightful day in Court.
    .

    1. rejecttyranny says:

      Here is some cheese with your whine…..

    2. Kim A Kirk says:

      I could never be a cop… especially these days.

  15. ︻ヂ◤══一 1776 says:

    Law enforcement everywhere will lay down today, and should. A convicted felon refuses to obey verbal commands, a rap sheet a mile long transmitted back to the officer over the radio, all resulting in a felony traffic stop. She is the one that suffers the end result? Protect yourself. Mob rule has taken over.

  16. John C says:

    We will see if the Grand Jury indicts the Police Officer, which is an easy thing to do if you don’t present all of the evidence, like many DAs do. Tell only part of the story to get the indictment, just like Baltimore. When all of the evidence is exposed, we will see if she acted irrationally. DAs and their Assistants are some of the most dishonest people in government, out to make a name for themselves instead of seeking justice. We will see what happens when all of the evidence comes out.

  17. falconflight says:

    The man had a criminal record that would scare most anyone, at least an average white person.

  18. Maximum Autism says:

    D i c k s O u t F o r H a r a m b e ! ! !

    1. Tommy says:

      balls out for Bantu

  19. Patrick Cash says:

    She was irrationally afraid and accidentally fired her weapon when the male officer discharged his taser, she best own up to it. Her career in law enforcement is over but at least she will avoid jail; the department’s insurance rates are going to go up thought…

  20. Pedro says:

    Prosecutor is in big trouble. He referred to the female officer as ’emotional’. Can’t say that in today’s PC world. Borders on ‘hate speech’.

  21. SuperDelegate says:

    The police should call a national strike!

    This is nothing more than mob justice, just like in Baltimore with the same end result.

  22. NeverHillary says:

    Good news for the police officer who killed this thug…….they found PCP in his car. PCP makes violent animals out of normal human beings.

    1. Coggiedoggie says:

      Doesn’t take PCP for the feral culture to be violent, it’s part of their DNA.

  23. David "Bo" Bolgiano says:

    The cowardly politicians throw this officer to the wolves without a shred of evidence of criminal intent: assuming in the first place, which is a big assumption, that her actions were unreasonable within the framework of Graham v. Connor and its progeny. What a shameful decision.

    1. p says:

      I do find it odd that the female police officer was there alone for over 90 seconds but shot and killed a man within 30 seconds of 6 male officers arriving at the scene. How is it that she only became fearful of her own life once she had considerable backup? Honestly, I think she was scared, irrationally so, and accidentally discharged her weapon due to being startled by the male officer who used his taser!

      1. John C says:

        A lot depends on the dead mans actions. Did he move in a manner that would lead one to believe he was reaching for a weapon? Why was he not following the Police officers’ lawful orders? We need to see more of the evidence before we know whether her actions were warranted.

  24. Kelly Basden says:

    “We need to pray for wisdom and guidance.”
    Because that works so funking well. Get real.
    Imaginary friends are for little boys and girls.

    1. Rusty says:

      Not all friends are imaginary. Which ones are you referring to?

  25. sullytf says:

    She’d rather be judged by 12 than possibly carried by 6. Just like every other PO.

    1. Daripuff says:

      So would’ve he.

  26. Mark Webb says:

    Let them all run free, don’t stop or pursue anyone. It’s just not worth it.

  27. Jeff Shaffer says:

    This gives one another perspective on either “You better listen to your Mother.” or “Watch out, she is a crazy Bitch. or something about a woman scorned.

  28. B Da Truth says:

    Oh and what was the motive of this heinous crime being nervous and doing your job arresting a PCP fueled ex-con refusing your commands. I can’t wait for the acquittal or the hung jury, this case goes no where, and thought the people of OK had more common sense than to pursue this.

  29. Big Mama says:

    Talk about rush to judgement….hasn’t even been a week

  30. Maximum Autism says:

    D i c k s O u t F o r H a r a m b e !

  31. Marcus Twain says:

    The cops need to stop killing unarmed people no matter what their color is, immediately! Are you telling me there is no other methods that can be implode to subdue this person? BS! Fix your training methods. No shots should ever be fired until all other nonfatal tactics have been tried.

    1. Dammitt says:

      Maybe you should volunteer for a ride-long. I’m sure the police would benefit from your guidance. That is, if you could take a minute from cowering on the floor of the cruiser.

  32. Brad says:

    I don’t even care anymore. Eff him. He had it coming.

  33. Wharfplank says:

    No brotha is gonna take orders from some white chick…

  34. William Flynn says:

    The main problem is the democrats have so destroyed the American family that Police Officers are afraid of most of these Super Predators the democrats have created, all crazed and drugged up, because most of these democrat voters don’t care about themselves or anyone else. Following directions from law enforcement is the last thing on their minds, or they just do not care enough about our society to even participate.

  35. chunky says:

    Screening cops to root out these types of incidents is like a screening program to make sure you marry the right person.

    This is life unfortunately and mistakes will happen. Fatal mistakes.

    Does this justify what happened. No!

    But the thought of perfectly screening cops is just stupid and plays into the farce that has taken us out of reality and into the twilight zone that we have witnessed in Charlotte the last two days.

    She has been charged lets see what happens.

    But know this. Mistakes like this and unjustified killings will most likely continue. Turning these mistakes into a race war is the goal of some people on both sides. don’t fall into it.

  36. Ruzzty says:

    Not guilty.

    Another witch hunt by an over zealous prosecutor. Where did we see that before?

    Ohh yeah… Zimmerman case. Furgeson case. Etc…

  37. Research Race and IQ says:

    Average White IQ: 107
    Average negro IQ: 68

    1. capoprimo says:

      I’ll bet yours is somewhere below the lower!

    2. falconflight says:

      Number one, Negro is a proper noun and is capitalized
      Number two, Negro IQ is approximately 87…the white number is closer to 100

      Gawd, what a biGOT. ;0

      1. Big Mama says:

        The definition of first degree manslauhter doesn’t make sense

  38. District24 says:

    This stupid bytch had no business being a cop in the first place. Its extremely sad that this man had to lose his life .They took an OATH to SERVE and Protect and no way in the Constitution it states they can exercise the DEATH Penalty when they feel like it .I hope she gets put in open population down the line in order to be DEALT WITH.

    1. Dammitt says:

      Maybe if the stupid bastyrd didn’t park his car in the middle of the road and fail to listen to instructions, he wouldn’t be dead.

      1. Kelly Basden says:

        His truck was broke down. But you certainly can find that to be his fault.
        FFS.

        1. Bryan Mason says:

          Actually, the report states the truck was running.

  39. Paul Hue says:

    This is a travesty. All for a drug dealer out of prison since may already with four warrants (including fresh drug peddling charge) endangering the rest of us driving zonked out on PCP to the point where he can’t even answer simple questions from the police. Now the state is pressing unfounded charges on the woman who tried to protect the rest of us, all because officials fear the feds under Obama destroying their municipality like they did Ferguson. I’m glad they so crazily overcharged her (though any charge would be over charging).

  40. You versus 4 cops on the side of the road means you lose…maybe your life. It’s on camera…comply and let your lawyer make you rich. That or maybe go to jail..but at least you’re alive.

  41. Murdrcycle says:

    I hope she gets the maximum. Police aren’t above the law.

    1. JDB, Esq. says:

      How true! Only Criminal Hillary is above the law! Everyone knows that.

  42. Floyd Martin says:

    Well she should be charged! She is incompetent! If you are too scared to do your job, ya need to find another line of work! She hid behind the suspects car and fired at the the guy!
    I don’t she even aimed at the guy before pulling the trigger!
    Then she is heard screaming “shots fired, shot fired’!
    The male officer did the right thing and fired his taser!
    Yet for all the officers to ignore and not tend to the wounded suspect is outrageous!
    City of Tulsa get out your Insurance check book as your going to need it!

  43. Mike says:

    I wonder how we civilians can keep from “looking like a bad dude”? Here in AZ, a cop shot and killed a white man who was doing everything they “ordered” him to do. You can’t win. Your chances of dying increase suddenly when cops are involved. Well, at least the prosecutor is willing to charge a peace officer here.

  44. nobama666 says:

    We all know the routine- charge cop- cop gets off. City awards millions of dollars to the fambly why? Who the Hell knows.

  45. NeverHillary says:

    Thank the Lord for police officers! I would not do their job for a million dollars a year.

    If I was a cop and I told someone to stop and they didn’t, I would shoot first, trying for a nonfatal spot if I could. If I felt my life was in danger, I would go for a head shot and empty my gun into them.

    I value my life much more than any suspect, and you can take that to the bank.

  46. Emma Morrow says:

    Why are White Women so violent? This has to stop.

  47. BobUSAFret says:

    No conviction, there will be a riot, but no problem, because DOJ understands.

  48. Drider says:

    Why didn’t the 120lb woman cop just wait until the 275lb guy got within kicking range, do a leg sweep to take him down and then jump up and do a five finger tazer punch to his chest to subdue him. You know, like they do in the movies.

    1. Emma Morrow says:

      Because of the horrible violence that oozes out of each any every White Woman. We see it each and every day in our lives.

      When will America hold these violent White Women to account?

      1. NeverHillary says:

        When will you colored quit complaining about life in America and return to your homeland?

        1. Joe Fonebone says:

          I think the guy was being sarcastic.

  49. Joe Fonebone says:

    Of course, none of this would have happened if the guy had simply complied with the police commands. Maybe the BLM folks will get that message out one of these days.

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