Tulsa officer pleads ‘not guilty;’ attorney claims condition may have played a role in deadly shooting

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Former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby booking photo, September 23, 2016

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TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma police officer accused of manslaughter in the death of a Tulsa man earlier this month was in court on Friday morning.

Earlier this month, 40-year-old Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby after his car was stopped in the middle of a roadway.

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.

Shortly after that, Crutcher was shot. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Last week, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charged Shelby with one count of first-degree manslaughter.

During her arraignment on Friday morning, Shelby quickly entered a “not guilty” plea before leaving the courthouse, FOX 23 reports.

The Associated Press reports that Shelby’s lawyer claims she was hyper-focused on the situation at the time of the shooting, adding that she didn’t hear other officers arrive at the scene or even the shot she fired.

Attorney Scott Wood claims Shelby experienced “auditory exclusion,” a condition in which people in high-stress situations often don’t hear sounds around them.

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