White police officer Betty Shelby shot and killed an unarmed black man named Terance Crutcher following a roadside encounter. After a nine hour deliberation, a jury has acquitted Shelby of felony manslaughter, according to CNN.
Although Shelby's original testimony, in which she claimed Crutcher's hands were not visible when she shot him after responding to a call about a man and a car potentially on the verge of an explosion, was directly proven false by video footage. Shelby had also claimed she believed Crutcher to be under the influence of drugs. The jury, made up of three black people and nine white people, asked to explain their decision but were only given a chance to state their conclusion in court.
"This is definitely a tough pill to swallow," said Terance's sister, Tiffany Crutcher. "Terence's hands were up. Terence was not an imminent threat. Terence did not attack her. Terence didn't charge at her. Terence was not the aggressor. "
"Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder," added Terance's father Joseph. "I have four grandchildren that are at home now, that have lost their daddy."
Protestors unsurprisingly gathered following the decision's announcement.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum recognized the racial component of the situation: "After considering days of testimony and undergoing its own deliberation, the jury has spoken. I appreciate the jurors' service to our community and respect their verdict," Bynum said. "But this verdict does not alter the course on which we are adamantly set. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers."
Protestors have since gathered to object to the decision.
The case is just another example of the extreme difficulties of landing convictions against police.
[Photo: Tulsa County Jail]
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