A white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man has been found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter.

Tulsa officer Betty Shelby killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on 16 September in a confrontation caught on video.

The jury reached its verdict after about nine hours of deliberations.

Dashcam and aerial footage of the shooting showed Mr Crutcher walking away from Officer Shelby with his arms in the air.

Officer Betty Shelby of the City of Tulsa Police Department in Oklahoma in an undated photo
Image:
Officer Betty Shelby said she feared for her life

However, the footage did not show a clear view of when she fired the shot that killed him.

The policewoman said she fired because he didn’t obey her commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his SUV through a partially open window for what she thought was a gun.

Officer Shelby also said she feared Mr Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known as Angel Dust that makes users erratic and unpredictable.

An autopsy showed PCP was in Mr Crutcher’s system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV, No weapon was found in his car.

Terence Crutcher
Image:
Terence Crutcher was unarmed

Mr Crutcher’s killing was among a spate of shootings at the hand of police in recent years that fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement and prompted calls for more police accountability.

Prosecutors said there was no reason for Officer Shelby to fire on a man who was walking away from her, and that she escalated a routine traffic matter into a deadly confrontation by acting unreasonably.

Her defence lawyer argued that prosecutors charged her for political reasons, looking to avoid protests and civil unrest.



Publish Date

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here