Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelbywill be charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher at a Thursday afternoon presser, ABC News reports.
On September 16, Terence Crutcher, 40, was fatally shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after police responded to reports of a stalled vehicle.
As two separate investigations continue, led by the Justice Department and the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office, more details emerge regarding Crutcher and Betty Shelby, the officer who fatally shot Crutcher in the middle of the road as he walked with his hands up towards his SUV.
Shelby’s account says that Crutcher was combative and erratic, prompting her to call for back up. Another squad car arrived on the scene, capturing the encounter on dash cam video. According to Shelby’s account, she believed Crutcher was under the influence of PCP. A second video taken by a police helicopter was also released. Shelby’s husband, Officer Dave Shelby, was one of the officers in the police helicopter, according to The New York Times.
Both cameras capture the moments leading up to the shooting, first showing one of the responding officers tasing Crutcher. Moments later, Shelby opens fire. The Tulsa Police Department has since placed Shelby on paid administrative leave as authorities finalize their investigation.
Here are five things to know about the incident.
1. Crutcher’s shooting is not the first time Shelby faced discrepancies regarding protocol. According to News On 6, Shelby previously faced two excessive force complaints, but both were deemed “unfounded.” Details of the reports were not immediately available, according to Heavy.com. Shelby has served on the Tulsa Police Department’s force since 2011.
2. Shelby’s lawyer, Scott Wood, told The Times the surveillance video doesn’t account for two minutes leading up to the shooting. He corroborated Shelby’s account, saying Crutcher, “had acted erratically, refused to comply with several orders, tried to put his hand in his pocket, and reached inside his car window before he was shot.”
3. Terry Shannon, Crutcher’s pastor, told The Washington Post that it was “a blessing and joy” to be his spiritual leader. According to Shannon, Crutcher sang in the church choir and had a wonderful voice. Crutcher, a father of four, was studying music appreciation at Tulsa Community College. His family said he was on the way home from class Friday afternoon when his car stalled on the road.
4. Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany called for justice at a Monday afternoon press conference. “After watching the video and seeing what actually happened, we asked for facts. We asked for answers, and we clearly got it through the video and we are truly devastated,” she said. “The entire family is devastated.”
In response to the helicopter recording, which captured one officer referring to Crutcher as a “bad dude,” Tiffany said, “That big bad dude – his life mattered.” The Crutcher family will be represented by Benjamin Crump, the high-profile civil rights attorney who also represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Kendrick Johnson, and Corey Jones.
5. The Tulsa Police Department said they will continue to work with investigators and released the videos to show full transparency. “I want to assure our community and assure all of you, and people across the nation looking at this, we will achieve justice,” Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said at a Monday news conference.