Terence Crutcher Sister Vows To Fight After No Federal Charges Filed
TULSA, Oklahoma - The family of Terence Crutcher, shot and killed by former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby on September 16, 2016, held a news conference Friday afternoon in Tulsa.
Their attorney, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said they were disappointed that the Department Of Justice announced it will not be pursuing criminal civil rights charges against Shelby due to insufficient evidence.
Disappointed, but not surprised, Solomon-Simmons said. The justice system is set up to protect police officers and requires the highest level of proof to convict them, he said.
Solomon-Simmons said the family will continue to work through the justice system for the sake of Crutcher's children.
The attorney called Crutcher's death "unjust" and "unnecessary." Dr. Tiffany Crutcher called her brother's death legal murder. She vowed to continue her fight to reform the laws that deal with use of force by a police officer.
"Change requires changing, and I made a vow the night of the verdict until I tore down this system of corruption until I reformed the Police Department not just locally but around this country," she said.
"We're standing strong, and we're moving forward with our plans. The fight for justice continues," she said.
Shelby shot and killed Crutcher, 40, on September 16, 2016, after encountering him outside his SUV which was stopped in the middle of a Tulsa street. Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter and acquitted May 17, 2017.
The DOJ said federal authorities examined all of the material and evidence in the State case generated by the TPD, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Tulsa District Attorney’s Office. The DOJ found the evidence is insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Shelby’s use of force was “objectively unreasonable” under the Supreme Court’s definition or to rebut her assertion that she fired in self-defense with the mistaken belief that Crutcher reached into his vehicle to get a weapon.
It says the evidence is also insufficient to establish that Officer Shelby acted with the specific intent to break the law.
Dr. Crutcher said they will have a community-led public hearing on "Policing Reform In Tulsa" from 6 to 9 p.m. March 7. It will be held at the 36th Street North Event Center, 1125 East 36th Street North.