Police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man charged with felony manslaughter

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Betty Shelby
source
Tulsa Police Department via Reuters

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, was charged with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday, according to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

A warrant was issued for Shelby’s arrest.

Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler announced the charge Thursday, nearly one week after the shooting that killed Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old father who encountered Shelby on Friday while she was responding to an unrelated call.

Crutcher’s death, along with that of another black man killed at the hands of police this week, has sparked protests nationwide.

“The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Crutcher are on the hearts and minds of many people in this community,” Kunzweiler said as he announced the felony charge against Shelby.

Attorneys representing Crutcher’s family and an attorney for Shelby offered conflicting accounts of what happened when Shelby encountered Crutcher.

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Tulsa Police Department video of Terence Crutcher.
source
Thomson Reuters

Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, said that the officer shot and killed Crutcher after he failed to obey multiple commands and then reached into the open window of his vehicle, which was stopped in the middle of the road.

Attorneys Benjamin L. Crump and Damario Solomon-Simmons, who represent Crutcher’s family, say that the window was up, “evidenced by the blood spattered on it when he was shot,” ABC News reported on Wednesday.

Police dashboard camera and helicopter video footage appear to show Crutcher’s hands raised when he was shot.