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Tulsa Officer Pleads Not Guilty
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Terence Crutcher

Summary: The Tulsa officer responsible for firing the fatal shot of Terence Crutcher pleaded not guilty for reasons of temporary deafness.

Two weeks after the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Officer Betty Shelby pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter. Shelby is using the claim that she was temporarily deaf during the incident. Shelby had been with the force for five years and with the sheriff’s office before that. The next hearing is set for November 29.

  
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Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges of manslaughter against Shelby one week after the shooting. She surrendered herself the next day and was released on $50,000 bond within the hour.

Read Terence Crutcher’s Shooter Charged with Manslaughter.

Shelby has claimed, through her attorneys, that she experienced “auditory exclusion” upon confronting Crutcher. She says she was so hyper-focused that she never heard the other officers arrive as backup or Officer Tyler Turnbough tell her he had his taser ready to deploy. The condition occurs when people in high-stress situations tune out sound around them to focus on the one thing before them.

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Crutcher’s SUV was found stalled in the middle of a busy road which Shelby was driving on to respond to a domestic dispute call. When she got out of her car, Crutcher walked toward her but was not answering any of her questions regarding whether the vehicle was his or not. He repeatedly put his hands in his pockets after Shelby ordered him to show his hands. He then turned and walked to his car with his hands up.

See Tulsa Law Removes Connection to Founder with KKK Ties.



Crutcher was “non-compliant” and “resisting criminal attempt” by “refusal to comply with her lawful orders.” The District Attorney explained that 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 overreacted.”

Shelby was fearful of Crutcher and believed him to be under the influence of drugs because of his off behavior. PCP was found in his car after the shooting but the toxicology reports have not returned yet to indicate if he actually was under the influence of PCP or any other drugs.

When Crutcher reached the side of his car and attempted to reach in it, Turnbough and Shelby reacted almost simultaneously, him with the taser and Shelby with a shot to his right lung area. Crutcher was unarmed and had no weapons in the car that he could have been reaching for.

Do you think Shelby overreacted? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the shooting, read  Terence Crutcher’s Shooting to Be Investigated by Justice Department.

Photo: workers.org



 

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