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Tulsa officer charged with manslaughter in shooting of Terence Crutcher

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While public attention has been focused on the rioting in Charlotte, North Carolina, following an officer-involved shooting death, nearly 1,000 miles to the west another officer was charged with manslaughter following the shooting death of another victim: Terence Crutcher.

But the facts in the Tulsa, Oklahoma shooting are light-years apart from those in the Charlotte case.

Clip via NBC News

The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office found the female police officer had “reacted unreasonably” and became “emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”

Therefore, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced at a Thursday press conference that first degree manslaughter charges were being brought against Officer Betty Shelby.

“In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determine that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against the Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby is warranted,” Kunzweiler said.

He added that just like any other criminal defendant, Officer Shelby should be presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise.

Video taken over head from a police helicopter showed that Crutcher, 40, approached his vehicle, an SUV, with his arms raised when he was shot and killed. No weapon was found on either his person or in his vehicle.

Shelby claimed that Crutcher wasn’t following instructions from the officers. Another office, Tyler Turnbough, tasered Crutcher before Shelby fired, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said.

NBC News reported:

Officer Shelby had been assigned to a domestic violence call Friday evening when she came upon Crutcher and his vehicle in the road, according to an affidavit requesting a warrant for Shelby’s arrest.

Shelby approached the vehicle and asked Crutcher if it belonged to him and was disabled, but Crutcher was mumbling to himself and not answering her questions, according to the affidavit.

At that point, Crutcher walked toward his vehicle with his hands up and did not respond to Shelby’s commands for him to stop. Officer Turnbough then arrives and after Crutcher he reached in the driver’s side front window of his vehicle, he fired his Taser and Shelby fired one shot striking Crutcher in the lung, according to the affidavit.

 

Video evidence, suggesting that the vehicle’s windows were up, appear to negate the claim that Crutcher was reaching inside his SUV, Crutcher family lawyers said.

Tiffany Crutcher, the deceased’s twin sister, said she was pleased charges were being brought against the shooting officer.

“We understand that nothing will bring him back,” she said. “Our goal now as a family is to ensure that this never happens to another innocent citizen … We lost a wonderful soul.”

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Clip via NBC News.

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