An attorney for Tulsa (OK) Police Officer Betty Shelby has petitioned a judge to drop the manslaughter charge against her for shooting noncompliant PCP abuser Terence Crutcher after he repeatedly ignored police commands and reached into his vehicle in September. The district attorney leading the show trial against Shelby is contesting the request for dismissal.
The Tulsa County district attorney has responded to a recent request by Officer Betty Shelby’s attorneys for the judge to drop her manslaughter charge.
Shelby is charged with shooting and killing Terence Crutcher last September.
The DA said the state already proved at Shelby’s preliminary hearing that her use of force was beyond what was reasonable.
They asked the judge to deny Shelby’s request.
We’ve covered the absurdity of the Crutcher shooting from day one.
Officer Shelby was responding to a call when she found a vehicle abandoned in the middle of the road, it’s windows partially down, with no driver present. She quickly scanned the vehicle through windows for occupants but did not search it, and as she began returning to her vehicle, she encountered Mr. Crutcher. As a trained drug recognition expert and field training officer, Shelby quickly realized that Crutcher was exhibiting signs of PCP intoxication, and backed away while calling for backup.
Crutcher backed Shelby down around her vehicle which she attempted to keep between them, as people on PCP are incredibly resistant to pain and have been known to become incredibly violent without provocation.
Crutcher ignored orders to comply, and as backup began arriving, slowly began to return to his vehicle, ignoring police commands.
When Crutcher reached his vehicle, he continued to ignore commands.
Crutcher then reached inside his vehicle through what we now know to be a partially-opened window, which any reasonable officer might interpret as an attempt to acquire a weapon from the SUV.
Officer Shelby says she was suffering auditory exclusion at this time, a well-documented phenomena that renders 82-percent of people temporarily deaf during moments of extreme stress, such as just before or after a shooting. She was unaware other squad cars were arriving behind her, or that TPD Officer Tyler Turnbough had just arrived and was behind her to her left with a taser drawn. As Crutcher reached into his vehicle, Shelby discharged one shot and Turnbough fired his taser, seeing the same threat.
High on PCP, Crutcher did not apparently realize he was shot, nor did he react to the taser. He stood upright for many long seconds after taking a single fatal shot as other officers arrived.
His blood pressure apparently dropping to a point to where he could not stay conscious from the fatal shot, Crutcher finally collapsed.
No weapons were found in the SUV, but PCP was. Toxicology later revealed that Crutcher was intoxicated on PCP, just as officer Shelby accurately noticed thanks to her expertise.
In what appears to be a craven bid to avoid a race riot from erupting from Black Lives Matter activists threatening violence outside the Tulsa police station, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler overrode a police department homicide investigation that was about to rule Shelby’s shooting of Crutcher as a justified use of deadly force to have had his own investigator claim there was justification to charge Officer Shelby.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: based upon what I’ve seen of the evidence and Kunzweiler’s behavior, I think that the case against Officer Shelby is a politically motivated witch hunt from a craven politician more interested in tamping down threats of rioting and violence than it is an honest attempt at justice. Again, the homicide investigation was concluding that this shooting was justified. He charged her anyway.
In my opinion, Kunzweiler is close to being on the same level as Mike Nifong, the notorious North Carolina district attorney who led a political witch hunt against white lacrosse players because of allegations made by a black stripper in the infamous Duke Lacrosse case. The judge later declared that all of the members of the team accused in the case were not just not guilty, but clearly innocent of all allegations. The stripper went on to murder a man (her second attempt to kill in a domestic violence situation) and is now in prison.
Officer Shelby was put in a regrettable situation, and responded correctly as the situation dictated. This was a justifiable homicide.
She should never have been charged, and Steve Kunzweiler’s case against her is a travesty of justice.