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    Terence Crutcher Tag

    Yesterday, Tulsa OK Police Officer Betty Shelby, who is white, was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter charges arising from the September 16, 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher, who was black, according to reports by CNN and local Tulsa television news station KTUL.
    Before issuing a verdict Wednesday night, the nine white jurors and three black jurors asked the judge if they could explain their verdict in court. The judge told them they can only announce their verdict in court, not explain it, but said they were free to explain publicly after the trial concluded. After the verdict, Shelby left without making a statement as Crutcher's family tearfully left the courtroom.

    Back in September 2016 Terence Crutcher — a quite large black man — was shot and killed by white police officer Betty Shelby in Tulsa OK. I covered the case evidence in a prior post, Legal Game Changer: Terence Crutcher had “High Levels” of PCP when shot by OK police. Included in that post is an extensive discussion of the history and legal significance of a suspect not obeying instructions and returning to his vehicle.

    It appears that another negative narrative about a police shooting of a black suspect is about to go down in flames. This particular case involves the shooting death of suspect Terence Crutcher by Oklahoma police officer Betty Jo Shelby. The racial narrative in the shooting death of Crutcher appears to have taken a fatal blow with the news yesterday, as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, that the coroner in the case has determined the Crutcher “had a high level of the drug PCP in his body” at the time of his death (emphasis added). This finding essentially puts the finishing bow on Officer Shelby’s narrative of a lawful use of deadly force, which was already consistent with all available evidence. It also puts a spotlight on the local prosecutor’s shameful and patently politically-motivated decision to charge Shelby with manslaughter in Crutcher’s death even before the coroner’s findings had been released.
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