Officer Who Killed Unarmed Terence Crutcher Returns to Duty
Betty Shelby shot and killed unarmed Terence Crutcher in 2016 after his car broke down. Two years later, she is now actively patrolling as a sheriff’s deputy.
Following the trial, in which a jury acquitted Shelby in 40-year-old Crutcher’s death, she remained briefly with the Tulsa Police Department. Eventually she resigned and became an unpaid reserve deputy with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department. Now she is a full-time, active deputy.
All twelve jurors of the jury who acquitted Shelby wrote a letter to Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan stating that she should never be a patrol officer again. According to The Frontier, one juror said during an interview, “He said he felt that Shelby ‘was a fearful person,’ and that the jury agreed someone with that mindset should not be on patrol.”
But according to Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton, it’s okay because Shelby has at least one Black supporter in her corner.
“Not to make this a black or white or racial deal, but one gentleman, a black gentleman, approached Betty at QuikTrip and struck up a conversation with her and said ‘I know who you are and I appreciate what you do,'” Walton told The Frontier. “No reason at all for us not to support her.”
Walton said that Shelby is “doing her job and doing a good one.”
The case was also expunged from Shelby’s record. For employment purposes, it is as if Crutcher never existed at all. Shelby’s defense attorney, Shannon McMurray, said the decision will help “to have that smear on her name removed from public view,” the Associated Press reported.
Prosecuting attorney Kevin Gray explained during the trial that “Crutcher was never aggressive toward police or actually produced a gun, and that Shelby was merely ‘guessing’ that he had one.”
Her guess cost Crutcher his life.
Police initially lied about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, saying Crutcher approached officers from the side of the road after another officer arrived. Video shows that Crutcher was walking toward officers with his hands up initially. Later as Crutcher appeared to put his hands on the roof of his SUV on the driver’s side, one officer fired his Taser, and shortly after, Shelby shot him.