Tulsa Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter In Terence Crutcher Death

<p>The Tulsa County District Attorney held a news conference Thursday afternoon at the courthouse. District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler announced that Police Officer Betty Shelby will be charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of Terence Crutcher.</p>

Thursday, September 22nd 2016, 4:58 pm

By: News 9


The Tulsa County District Attorney held a news conference Thursday afternoon at the courthouse. District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler announced that Police Officer Betty Shelby has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of Terence Crutcher.

The charge has been filed at the court clerk's office against Shelby, a police officer since 2011. A warrant has been issued for her arrest, he said.

Kunzweiler said it's important to note that despite the heightened tension in the city over the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, the community has remained peaceful.

Courtrooms must be the source of justice, he said. He called for ministers to lend "guiding hands" to the public in the wake of the shooting.

Kunzweiler declined to answer questions following the announcement.

From the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network:

Homicide is manslaughter in the first degree in the following cases:

1. When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor.

2. When perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide.

3. When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Shooting Death

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett released a statement after charges were filed saying:

"Our Tulsa Police Department worked quickly to provide all the information to the District Attorney. I appreciate their efforts as well as the District Attorney’s usual thorough evaluation of the rules of law for which we are all accountable. These are important steps to ensure that justice and accountability prevails.

"We will continue to be transparent and ensure the system carries out its responsibility to provide justice.

"We also appreciate the expedited work by Governor Mary Fallin and the State Medical Examiner’s office.

"Whether through peaceful demonstrations, prayer vigils or countless statements of support to the Crutcher family and the entire community, we are in this together as one Tulsa. We continue to pray together, mourn together and we will get through this together."

Civil rights activist, Reverend Al Sharpton also released a statement on the charges, saying:

"“The first-degree manslaughter charges against this officer are a swift step in the right direction as we pursue justice in the death of Terence Crutcher. But we also look forward to a further investigation of all the officers at the scene when this tragedy occurred and we are anxious to know whether the conduct of these other officers will be subject to disciplinary actions or legal proceedings.”

Sharpton held a news conference with the Crutcher family in New York Wednesday. He also announced he would be in Tulsa Tuesday, September 27, for what he's calling a National Day of Justice.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin also weighed in on the decision to charge Shelby with manslaughter. In a press release the Governor said: 

“I pray this decision provides some peace to the Crutcher family and the people of Tulsa, but we must remain patient as the case works its way through the justice system, where a jury likely will be asked to decide whether officer Betty Shelby is guilty of the crime. And we must remember that in our justice system, officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.

“No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death.

“I want to compliment Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler as well as the citizens of Tulsa for keeping peace and order during this difficult time. I continue to ask that all of us keep the Crutcher and Shelby families in our prayers.”

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News on 6 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

September 22nd, 2016

April 15th, 2024

April 12th, 2024

March 14th, 2024

Top Headlines

June 20th, 2024

June 20th, 2024

June 20th, 2024

June 20th, 2024