tulsa, oklahoma

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Betty Shelby found not guilty of manslaughter in shooting of Terence Crutcher

  • Betty Shelby, the white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who shot Terence Crutcher in September, was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter in the unarmed black man’s death.
  • A jury disagreed with prosecutors that Shelby had used an unreasonable amount of force against Crutcher, who was seen in police video footage walking away from officers with his hands in the air. 
  • Jurors deliberated for close to 10 hours, following closing arguments delivered Wednesday morning by the prosecution and the defense.
  • Shelby, who faced between four years and life in prison if she were convicted, reportedly left the courthouse without addressing TV cameras. Her defense attorneys told the Associated Press that their client was “elated” by the verdict. Read more (5/17/17)

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Terence Crutcher’s twin sister hopes his death will be the catalyst for police reform

Terence Crutcher was determined to leave his mark on the world. He often told his twin sister that.

“In one of Terence and I’s last conversations, he told me, ‘Look, sis. I’m going to be like you when I grow up. I’m going to make you proud, and God is going to get the glory out of my life,’” Tiffany Crutcher, a practicing physical therapist in a suburb of Montgomery, Alabama, said in an exclusive sit-down interview with Mic.

At 40, Terence began pursuing a degree in musical appreciation. He wanted to sing and record gospel music. He attended his family’s church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was involved in its music ministry. That’s where he was headed — to church for a music workshop — on the day in September that Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby fatally shot him near his stalled vehicle on a local roadway. Of course, Shelby couldn’t have known anything about Crutcher’s aspirations.

Instead, Shelby appears to have assumed the worst about Crutcher. She allowed those assumptions to influence a decision to use lethal force against him in a moment when he needed help, Tiffany Crutcher said. That made her actions all the more devastating to the Crutcher family.

On Monday, Shelby’s trial begins on a first-degree manslaughter charge. She has said she believed he was reaching for a gun and begged him to obey her commands to freeze and keep his hands visible, but she also feared for her life. Crutcher was unarmed. 

Of course, Tiffany Crutcher wants to see Shelby convicted. But she is also determined to help her brother keep the promise he made to her. Though she’ll never get to buy her brother’s debut gospel album, the circumstances of his death will hopefully be catalysts for police reform in Tulsa and across the nation, she said. Read more (5/8/17)

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Betty Shelby will return to work five days after her acquittal in Terence Crutcher’s death

  • In America, you can be acquitted of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed black man one week, and the next week you can return to duty.
  • That seems to be the story of Betty Jo Shelby, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter in the September shooting death of Terence Crutcher. Shelby plans to return to work on Monday, the Associated Press reported. Read more. (5/20/17, 10:31 AM)
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Families of Terence Crutcher, Walter Scott speak out ahead of of police-shooting trials

  • Tiffany Crutcher, the twin sister of Terence Crutcher, a black man gunned down by Tulsa, Oklahoma, police Officer Betty Shelby in September, said  her family has a singular focus as the officer goes to trial in early May.
  • “Our mission is to, on May 8, as we start this trial, make sure we get a conviction in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Crutcher said Wednesday during a panel of families touched by police and vigilante violence.
  •  Crutcher said she recognizes how rare it is for officers to be charged in shooting, particularly when the victim is black.
  • “That right there says a lot,” Crutcher told the gathering of more than 200. “So we’re going to fight for a conviction. We’re going to be a voice for the voiceless.” Read more (4/27/17 10 AM)

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Oklahomans for Equality center shot at, later subjected to verbal harassment 

  • On Monday, staff at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center — which includes the office of Oklahomans for Equality in Tulsa, Oklahoma — found marks left by 13 gunshots on the edifice’s windows and front door, the Gayly reported.
  • Oklahomans for Equality shared video of the incident on YouTube. The 17-second clip shows a white car passing the office and marks appearing on the doors and windows as bullets impact the glass. 
  • According to the Gayly, the office was open for work the day after the shooting.
  • After the initial shooting incident Monday, an unknown man walked into the office and began verbally harassing the front-desk crew, Tulsa World reported. Read more (3/8/17 5:10 PM)

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