Jury Finds Betty Shelby Not Guilty in the Fatal Shooting of Terence Crutcher

Former Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty in the death of Terence Crutcher. A jury for the trial that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, convened and deliberated for nine hours Wednesday (May 17) before reaching the decision that they did not find Shelby guilty. The charge against her was first-degree manslaughter.

During the trial, prosecutors retold the events of last year’s unfortunate traffic stop that resulted in the untimely shooting of Crutcher. Shelby’s defense was that “she believed Crutcher was going to get a gun and she had to stop that threat.” However, dashcam and aerial footage from a helicopter on the scene corroborated the fact that Crutcher was unarmed at the time of shooting, which ended with the father of four being shot critically in the lung.

Crutcher died in the hospital later that day. The officers involved, including Shelby, were put on administrative leave. A week later, Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter by Tulsa County DA Steve Kunzweiler.

After a week-long trial this month, a jury made up of eight women and four men reached a not guilty verdict for Shelby and she was acquitted of the murder of Terence Crutcher.

Tiffany Crutcher, the victim’s twin sister was emotional following the verdict and vehemently reiterated her belief that her brother was not the threat, “Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor. Betty Shelby had the gun. Betty Shelby was following him with his hands up.”

Crutcher’s father, Joseph, echoed her negative feelings about the verdict and said, “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder, and I don’t know what was in the mind of that jury.”

Shelby had a sit-down interview with 60 Minutes in April and expressed remorse but relinquished the blame to the victim, Crutcher. “I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur. So in the end, he caused his own,” she said.


Photo Credit: iStock

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.