Jury Foreman Writes Open Letter Following Betty Shelby Verdict
TULSA, Oklahoma - The jury foreman in Officer Betty Shelby's trial is breaking his silence. He wrote an open letter explaining the jury's decision behind the not guilty verdict in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
The four-page letter carefully lays out what happened in the more than nine hours of deliberation.
Hours before they delivered the verdict, the jurors in Shelby's case first asked the judge if they could explain their decision.
The judge said no, but we now know what they wanted to say. Shelby's attorney Scott Wood said it's rare insight.
"I have never had a jury collectively put together a letter like this to explain their findings. I think it speaks volumes as to the seriousness of their commitment to this case," Wood said.
The jury foreman writes they all agreed Shelby's actions were unfortunate and tragic, but justifiable due to Crutcher's actions.
He wrote, "The Jury concluded that any officer put in that situation at that exact moment and regardless of the skin color, gender or size of the suspect, would have performed the same way, which is in accordance with their law enforcement training."
But the jury also wonders if Shelby should have used a Taser, even if it went against her training.
Because they feel she did have the option to use less lethal, the jury foreman writes, "Many on the Jury could never get comfortable with the concept of Betty Shelby being blameless for Mr. Crutcher's death..." adding, "We question her judgment as a law enforcement officer."
Still, the letter says, the jury ultimately felt there wasn't enough proof to convict her.
"They recognized the gravity, not only to just the parties directly involved, but to the community and to, I think, police officers everywhere," Wood said.
The jury asked Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan to review Shelby's decision-making before reinstating her. Jordan announced Friday that Shelby will be back to work on Monday but not as a patrol officer.