Tulsa of­fi­cer charged with man­slaugh­ter for fa­tal shoot­ing seen on video

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

The white Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot an un­armed black man whose car had bro­ken down and blocked a road was charged with first de­gree man­slaugh­ter on Thurs­day and a war­rant has been is­sued for her ar­rest.

Court pa­pers filed by Tulsa County said Of­fi­cer Betty Shelby es­ca­lated the sit­u­a­tion and over­re­acted in shoot­ing Ter­ence Crutcher, 40. If con­victed, she faces at least four years in prison, lawyers said.

The in­ci­dent, cap­tured on po­lice videos, has in­ten­si­fied scrutiny of the use of ex­ces­sive force by po­lice and claims of racial bias by law en­force­ment in the United States.

“Although she is charged, she is pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til a judge or jury de­ter­mines other­wise,” Tulsa County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Steve Kun­zweiler told re­porters af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in which more than 50 peo­ple were ques­tioned.

In two videos pro­vided by Tulsa po­lice on Mon­day Crutcher can be seen with his hands in the air shortly be­fore he was shot.

“While we are pleased to learn that the of­fi­cer who sense­lessly killed my beloved twin brother is be­ing held ac­count­able for her reck­less ac­tions, noth­ing will bring him back,” his sis­ter Tif­fany Crutcher told a news con­fer­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit, Shelby told in­ves­ti­ga­tors “that she was in fear for her life and thought Crutcher was go­ing to kill her.”

The af­fi­davit said an of­fi­cer flank­ing Shelby used a Taser on Crutcher, who was stand­ing fac­ing his ve­hi­cle. Then Shelby fired at Crutcher, whose left hand was not clearly in view.

Shelby said she was trav­el­ing to another call when she came upon Crutcher. She said he did not re­spond to her ques­tions and did not re­spond to her com­mands to stop as he walked to his ve­hi­cle with his hands in the air, it said.

“Of­fi­cer Shelby acted un­rea­son­ably by es­ca­lat­ing the sit­u­a­tion,” the af­fi­davit said, adding “she be­came emo­tion­ally in­volved to the point that she over­re­acted.”

Tulsa po­lice have said Crutcher was un­armed and there was no weapon in the ve­hi­cle. In a bid for trans­parency, they re­leased the videos, one of which was taken from a po­lice he­li­copter and the other from a dash­board cam­era in a pa­trol car.

The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment has launched a sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion to see if the of­fi­cers on the scene vi­o­lated Crutcher’s civil rights.

Of­fi­cer Betty Shelby of the City of Tulsa Po­lice Depart­ment in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa.

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