Judge Angry That Media Savvy Officer Is Derailing Political Show Trial

An Oklahoma judge is upset that Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was smart enough to use the same media that is attempting to crucify her in a politically-motivated show trial to get her side of the story out in front of the public.


A judge has reprimanded a white Oklahoma police officer accused in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man for discussing the case on national TV.

Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby gave her first interview since the Sept. 16 shooting to CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

Judge Doug Drummond issued the formal rebuke Thursday, cautioning attorneys that further publicity could jeopardize the chance of conducting an impartial trial.

“It is obvious this case has drawn significant media interest nationwide since the beginning,” Drummond wrote in the five-page order. “The court is, at a minimum, hopeful that all parties … recognize that pretrial publicity potentially hampers prospects for a fair and impartial trial for both sides.”

Officer Shelby, cross-trained as a PCP intoxication expert, came across a SUV abandoned in the middle of the road, straddling the centerline. Terence Crutcher, the vehicle’s driver, then appeared on the scene, and stalked Shelby around her vehicle. Crutcher refused to follow commands from the officer. Shelby recognized the signs of PCP intoxication, knew that people on PCP were unusually dangerous, and immediately called for backup.

An air unit was first to respond, and filmed Crutcher slowly walked away from Shelby back to the driver’s side of the SUV just as Officer Tyler Turnbough arrived as backup. As Turnbough knew Shelby had her gun drawn, he opted to draw his taser in case they needed a less-lethal option. Due to auditory exclusion (which hits approximately 80-percent of people under high stress as they hyper-focus on potential threats), Officer Shelby was unaware that Officer Turnbough was beside and slightly behind her (below).


The helicopter video captures the moment Terence Crutcher lowers his hands and reaches through the partially open window of the SUV.


Immediately recognizing behavior consistent with an attempt to acquire a weapon, Shelby and Turnbough fired their weapons simultaneously. Shelby’s single, justifiable shot struck proved to be fatal.

A law enforcement investigation into the shooting was winding down and was apparently reaching the obvious conclusion that Shelby’s decision to fire was justified by Crutcher’s actions when Tulsa District Attorney Mike Nifong Steve Kunzweiler leapt to file charges in what appears to be a politically craven attempt to stop a race riot from occurring after Black Lives Matter supporters threatened to riot that very weekend if Shelby wasn’t charged.

Nifong Kunzweiler announced he was charging Shelby right before the weekend, and without any evidence she’d done anything other than follow her training and fire in lawful self-defense.

It’s a sad state of affairs that Judge Drummond hasn’t dismissed the case outright. No wonder he doesn’t want the case publicized. I’m glad that Officer Shelby’s attorneys were smart enough to get her side of the incident aired to show just how absurd this case against Officer Shelby was before her show trial begins.

If there’s any justice at all, the case with be dismissed very early, and Nifong Kunzweiler will be forced to issue a groveling apology.

Let me make something very, very clear.


People who refuse to comply with lawful commands from police officers and reach into vehicles are a lethal force threat and must be treated as such.

The infamous murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller shows what may happen when law enforcement officers allow noncompliant suspects to reach into their vehicles. Dinkheller’s murder is used as a training video in law enforcement academies nationwide as an example of why officers must engage a suspect reaching into a vehicle.

Officer Betty Jo Shelby and Officer Tyler Turnbough saw a non-compliant, PCP-abusing Terence Crutcher ignore repeated police commands and reach in through the open window of his vehicle.

Both officers followed their training. Both officers fired their weapons.

Both officers did the right thing.


If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Tulsa District Attorney Mike Nifong Steve Kunzweiler, a man apparently more interested in appeasing threatening mobs shrieking for “social justice” than dealing with the facts of a relatively simple and justified shooting of a non-compliant suspect.

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