District attorney announces manslaughter charge against Tulsa officer in shooting death of Terence Crutcher

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TULSA, Okla. – One week after the deadly officer-involved shooting of a Tulsa man, the Tulsa County District Attorney announced the end of the investigation into the shooting.

On Friday, 40-year-old Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by a police officer after his car stalled in the middle of the road.

Officers at the scene say Crutcher was acting erratically and was not following commands.

According to the affidavit, Shelby asked Crutcher if the vehicle was his and if it was disabled.

“He was mumbling to himself and would not answer any of Officer Shelby’s questions. Mr. Crutcher kept putting his hands in his pockets and Officer Shelby kept telling him to show his hands. At that point, Mr. Crutcher began walking towards the abandoned vehicle with his hands held up and was not responding to any of Officer Shelby’s commands to stop,” the affidavit claims.

In the dash cam video, you see Crutcher walking away from an officer and toward his vehicle with his hands up.

The affidavit claims that Crutcher reached in the driver’s side window at that point, a claim that his family’s attorney denies.

“The window was up, so how can he be reaching into the car if the window is up and there’s blood on the glass?” Attorney Benjamin Crump said, holding up a picture from the scene, showing Crutcher’s body on the ground outside of his vehicle and a blood streak running down the driver’s side window.

About 25 seconds after Crutcher reached his vehicle, the video shows him falling to the ground. A police officer is heard saying, “I think he may have just been tased” on the radio.

About two seconds later, Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby is heard saying, “Shots fired.” At that point, paramedics are called to the scene.

Crutcher was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Authorities later announced that Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in his vehicle.

On Wednesday, the Tulsa County District Attorney called a news conference to discuss details related to the shooting.

The district attorney officially announced that Officer Betty Shelby will face a charge of felony first-degree manslaughter in Crutcher’s death.

“Your affiant feels that Officer 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. Although Mr. Crutcher was wearing baggy clothes, Officer Shelby was not able to see any weapons or bulges indicating [a] weapon was present,” the affidavit reads.

A warrant has been issued for Shelby’s arrest, and officials say they have been in contact with her attorney about her surrender.

“I don’t know why things happen in this world the way they do,” said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. “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.”

“I pray this decision provides some peace to the Crutcher family and the people of Tulsa, but we must remain patient as the case works its way through the justice system, where a jury likely will be asked to decide whether officer Betty Shelby is guilty of the crime. And we must remember that in our justice system, officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.

“No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death.

“I want to compliment Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler as well as the citizens of Tulsa for keeping peace and order during this difficult time. I continue to ask that all of us keep the Crutcher and Shelby families in our prayers,” Gov. Mary Fallin said.

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