Trial set for Tulsa officer charged in death of unarmed man

Officer Betty Shelby

TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma police officer accused of manslaughter in the death of a Tulsa man last year will be going to trial in May.

Last September, 40-year-old Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby after his car was stopped in the middle of a roadway.

Officers at the scene say Crutcher was acting erratically and was not following commands.

According to the affidavit, Shelby asked Crutcher if the vehicle was his and if it was disabled.

“He was mumbling to himself and would not answer any of Officer Shelby’s questions. Mr. Crutcher kept putting his hands in his pockets and Officer Shelby kept telling him to show his hands. At that point, Mr. Crutcher began walking towards the abandoned vehicle with his hands held up and was not responding to any of Officer Shelby’s commands to stop,” the affidavit claims.

In the dash cam video, you see Crutcher walking away from an officer and toward his vehicle with his hands up.

Shortly after that, Crutcher was shot. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charged Shelby with one count of first-degree manslaughter.

Shelby has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Associated Press reports that Shelby’s lawyer claims she was hyper-focused on the situation at the time of the shooting, adding that she didn’t hear other officers arrive at the scene or even the shot she fired.

Attorney Scott Wood claims Shelby experienced “auditory exclusion,” a condition in which people in high-stress situations often don’t hear sounds around them.

Shelby’s attorneys asked a judge to dismiss the charges against her, but that motion was denied.

Instead, the judge set Shelby’s trial date for May 8 at 1:30 p.m.






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