Betty Shelby Found Not Guilty in Shooting Death of Unarmed Black Motorist Terence Crutcher

Betty Shelby (Tulsa, Okla., County Jail)

The jury in the trial of Tulsa, Okla., Police Officer Betty Shelby deliberated for nine hours Wednesday before finding her not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Terence Crutcher.

KTUL reports that the Crutcher family is expected to address the media with the district attorney after a brief meeting.


Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, announced that the verdict had been reached just after 9 p.m. CDT.


Just hours into the deliberations, defense attorney Shannon McMurray requested a mistrial, alleging prosecutorial misconduct, but the judge denied the request.


The jurors sent the judge a note asking if they could make a statement when they delivered the verdict, but the judge said no and advised them that they were free to discuss the case after the trial.

The case was handed to the jury around noon Wednesday after both the defense and prosecution made closing statements.


As previously reported on The Root, Shelby, 43, was charged with first-degree felony manslaughter in the September 2016 fatal shooting of Crutcher on a Tulsa highway after his car broke down.

Video of the shooting showed Crutcher raising his hands as he walked to his vehicle, and in the audio, you can hear the pilot of a helicopter overhead stating that Crutcher looked like a “bad dude.” Earlier this week, Shelby stated that it was the scariest moment of her life and that she was filled with fear. Tulsa police said that Crutcher was not complying with their demands when he was shot, but the video seemed to show a totally different story.


Shelby took the stand in her own defense in the weeklong trial, testifying that her training led her to shoot Crutcher because she believed that he was reaching for a weapon through a partially open window in his vehicle.


Shelby has routinely denied that race was a factor in her response to the encounter, blaming Crutcher’s actions and saying that he seemed to be high on drugs and did not respond to police commands as he walked toward his vehicle.

Prosecutors countered that drug use and ignoring commands were no reason for an officer to use deadly force against a civilian.


We all saw that shooting on video, and we all saw that man walking with his hands up, his back to Shelby.

We all saw her shoot and kill him on camera.

He was not a threat to her.

This is more injustice.

This. Must. Stop.

Read more at KTUL.

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Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.