Trial Starts For Officer Who Killed Terence Crutcher

Tulsa, OK police officer Betty Shelby

Opening statements were made today in the trial of police officer Betty Shelby, accused of fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Shelby is charged with manslaughter and faces four years to life in prison if convicted.

The jury consists of two black women, seven white women and three white men. The alternates are one black man and one white woman.

Shelby, 43, shot and killed Crutcher, 40, after approaching him on the street after his car broke down. Video shows him walking away from her with his hands up.

Terrence Crutcher

The Tulsa County District Attorney’s office claims Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands help up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”

Shelby’s defense attorney Shannon McMurray told the jury it was a rush to file charges.

Shelby has been on unpaid leave since the shooting, and said that she fired her weapon because she thought Crutcher was going for a gun.

The prosecution’s first witness was Tulsa police officer Tyler Turnbough.  He described coming to the scene and said that he saw Shelby had drawn her gun, so he drew his Taser in order to offer up a less-lethal option. Turnbough testified that he told Shelby he had drawn his Taser, but Turnbough said he wasn’t sure if Shelby acknowledged that she heard him.

Turnbough said he saw Crutcher reach his left hand into the window of his Lincoln Navigator, which prompted him to fire his taser at the exact moment Shelby fired her gun.

Trial is expected to take about a week.  News on 6 has notes from the opening statements.  I’ll do my best to update the trial in the comment section below.



Posted on 05/10/2017, in Cases, Terence Crutcher, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. another twilight zone trial????? the window was CLOSED the victim NEVER reached into the car…….

    • Bill,
      This trial is going to be interesting because there are conflicting reports about the window. There are also conflicting reports on whether or not a gun was in the vehicle. I suspect that the prosecution will have to place emphasis on the taser being used first rather than Betty pulling the trigger of her gun. And, if I remember correctly from the helicopter video, the officer who engaged the taser was closer to Terence.

  2. I want her prosecuted and tried. I also want White male police officers to be treated the same way women and people of color are treated as LEOs when arrested and charged. Unpaid leave, etc..

  3. watching the videos it is clear somebody on that scene tampered with the car AFTER the victim was shot……his emergency flashers were NOT ON during the helicopter shots, but when another officer arrives facing towards his car again after the shooting the cars flashers ARE ON……..somebody on that scene turned those flashers on and it was NOT the victim.

    • Bill,
      I’m posting the video here so we can look for the points you make. What always bothers me is how officers crowd around so what is happening with the “suspect” cannot be seen.

      • TY for posting that is CLEARLY shows his emergency flashers are NOT on…..a dashcam from head on after the shooting clearly shows the flashers are ON = some officer tampered with the car.

      • Yes that is what gets me too Xena. No doubt they do it to cover their asses from cameras.

    • Here’s an enhanced video. It looks to me that Terence was putting his hands on the vehicle like a person puts their hands against a wall in circumstances where cops are holding a gun on them.

  4. Thursday

    The jury watched a taped interview of Shelby that was taken 3 days after she shot and killed Terence Crutcher. Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker conducted the interview. He first showed Shelby the dashcam and helicopter videos and said he did so to get the most accurate statement from her. The interview as about 20 minutes.

    Shelby sobbed during the interview saying:
    “I thought he was going to kill me. I’ve never been so scared.”

    When asked if she thought there was opportunity to use less-lethal, Shelby replied,
    , “No. There wasn’t time. In my mind, he was going for a gun, and you don’t use a Taser on someone who’s going for a gun.”

  5. Friday, May 12, 2017

    The state rested this morning. Among its witnesses today was Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Terence’s twin sister. She identified a picture of her twin brother, which had been taken at church. She told the jury he had a prosthetic eye and was right handed. She was excused and left the courtroom in tears.

    The defense began putting on its witnesses. The defense is taking a position that the state rushed to judgment when filing charges with an incomplete investigation. It also wanted to bring up Terence’s past but the judge will not allow that.

  6. This testimony appears to confirm that Terence did not touch the outside of his vehicle’s window to reach into the vehicle.

  7. this is what astonishes me… of the window UP the blood streak outside the window, and now testimony that his dna was NOT found on the outside corner of the window yet people still argue the window was down……….and they swear the family agrees the window was down……..

  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    Terence Crutcher with family

  9. The defense called many witnesses, including two instructors who said Shelby was a great student although one said she started screaming and yelling and tearing up when she got a zero on a pop quiz. ………….so the defense just put on a witness saying she is UNSTABLE far too emotional and got very upset when she was in the WRONG……zero on a pop quiz = UNprepared, NOT doing the assigned duties, and not accepting responsibility for what she did.

    • Bill,
      That’s a great assessment of Shelby’s character. It’s the same Shelby who had two “unfounded” complaints against her for use of excessive force, and an order of protection filed against her. Give her a gun and a badge, and we see what happened.

      • “pop quizzes” are an issue from my life long ago, someday i will share my experience if interested?

        • Bill,
          Of course you are free to share your experience with pop quizzes. Thinking back, I don’t remember having them in school.

          • in school i was bored so i read the textbooks cover to cover within the first month each year……when given pop quizzes i always made 100 and the teachers used to tell the others NONE of you did the reading last night but Bill made 100, they told her i was “cheating” by “reading ahead” got sent to the office and then the superintendent of schools, he listened to my side, telling him was bored so i read the entire textbooks, and dont see how that could be called cheating, he agreed and in 4th grade told the teachers as long as i made straight A’s and didnt disrupt class to leave me alone i was getting my education with or without their help.

            • Bill,
              You and I have something in common — reading textbooks out of boredom. 🙂

              I grew up with a sister 3-years older than myself. When she started school and came home, I was always under her. Which meant, as she learned to read, write and spell, I was her “tester.” By the time I started kindergarten, I was already at a third grade reading and writing level. So yeah, I can relate to being bored in class. 🙂

  10. Monday, May 15, 2017

    A juror became sick and was replaced with an alternate which is a Black man.

    Shelby took the witness stand today. Fox 23 has a report and a video by a reporter who was in the courtroom and heard her testimony.

    • her testimony about training shows the problem……she says if you wait you are dead = SHOOT TO KILL BEFORE you even know what is happening…….and the claim the family had agreed earlier in the trial that the window was open is patently FALSE shown so today.

      • Bill,
        Again, I wish that the trial was live-streamed because I want to know if Shelby was questioned about the other officer who was closer to Terence and engaged his taser. Did she not think that other officer knew what he was doing and have a better view of Terence’s hands and the car window?

        I hope the jury doesn’t forget — there were two officers present. One decided to use non-lethal force, and the other (Shelby) used lethal-force.

    • clue and very important point, you need NO PRACTICE for telling the TRUTH!

      • Bill,
        ABSOLUTELY! Defense attorneys will go over their questions with their clients, but to “practice” more than a thousand times!!!!????

  11. I hope that one of the media outlets will publish the jury instructions.

  12. It’s absurd officers are allowed to see the video before giving a statement.

  13. Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    The jury is now deliberating.

    In closing arguments, the theme of District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler was “why?”

    He challenged the jury ask themselves the reasons why.

    Why did Officer Tyler Turnbough tell Shelby to holster her weapon? Why did Corporal Wyett Poth tell her “not to say a word” when he arrived on scene?

    Kunzweiler tells the jury that the reason those things happen, is because the officers all knew it was a bad shooting immediately.

    The defense took on several themes, including that the description of Shelby’s emotional state during her statement was prejudicial because of her gender. They argued that Shelby followed her training.

  14. The link in the tweet includes a good summary of closing arguments.

  15. yahtzeebutterfly

    • I read where yesterday,the judge told the jury to pack a lunch because they would deliberate after closing arguments. It’s after 5 p.m. now and no reports on whether the jury is staying longer or leaving for the night.

      It’s Survivor night and 2-hour special, so chances are if reaching the verdict takes place tonight, I won’t know about it until much later.

  16. yahtzeebutterfly

  17. yahtzeebutterfly

    Some people’s fates are judged in split seconds while others’ fates are judged after days in court and hours of deliberation.

  18. yahtzeebutterfly

  19. I await to hear from members of the jury how they came to their decision.

  20. WOW! Should I be surprised? Another one walks.

  21. another show trial by a crooked DA……..our judicial system is 100% corrupt.

  22. I would like to know why.

    “As soon as the judge finished reading the verdict, at least five jurors started crying. The judge’s bailiff gave a woman in the front row a box of tissues. She took one and handed it to a woman behind her who was wiping tears away with her fingers. Then the bailiff went and got more tissues for two other women and a man who were all crying, as well.

  23. “It appears she was rehearsed.” Shelby admitted as much saying she practiced her testimony over a thousand times.

    • so she got to see the videos and be advised what to say BEFORE she was interviewed = the police knew it was a BAD shoot so full coverup mode began immediately.

      • BIll,
        Yep! They knew how to paint Terence as being disobedient, (although appearing to be intoxicated), to say that the window was down and he was reaching in, all before she gave her statement.

        I read that in closing arguments, prosecutors used screen by screen photos from the video showing that the prongs from the taser hit Terence when he dropped his hands and that Shelby shot at the same time. In other words, Terence dropped his hands as an effect of being tased. That means that his hands were still up when Shelby fired her gun.

        Having some jurors crying conveys that they did not all agree with the evidence but conceded so they could go home. Personally, I would not want that on my conscience.

        • the bullet entered under his right armpit = 100% proof that arm was UP….also this “drug recognition expert” is total BS…… is a farce claim being made by police that they have officers that can spot a drug user from a distance which is LUNACY on it face.

          • Bill,
            You make a good point about the drug recognition. Let’s say that Shelby recognized that Terence was on a drug. That would mean that she is responsible for protecting him against harming himself and others. She went beyond that to claiming she was solely protecting herself.

            Shelby’s testimony that Terence deserved to die conveys that she considers herself as a god with authority to say who dies at her hands. She’s a disgrace to the brave men and women who do serve and protect.

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      The family press conference video is powerful!

      I am now listening to it for a second time.

  24. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see a jury in America convict a white cop for having killed a person of color. Even Slager couldn’t be convicted for having shot Walter Scott in the back 5 times as he ran away.

    • Mindyme,
      It’s interesting that you mention that. In preparation for a blog post about cases reported on this blog of police using excessive or deadly force, I prepared a table. Of 12 cases where a White law enforcement officer was charged and the victim Black, 3 were found guilty. However, it’s not that simple …

      Stephen D. Rankin was charged with 1st degree murder for killing William I. Chapman. The jury found Rankin guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Rankin was sentenced to 2 and a half years.

      Mary O’Callaghan was charged with assault although she kicked Alesia Thomas who died. O’Callaghan was found guilty and sentenced to 36 months with 20 months suspended.

      Then there is Robert Bates (a reserve officer) who killed Eric Harris. Bates was charged and found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 4 years.

      Even when an officer is charged, prosecuted, and found guilty, the sentencing appears to be a mere gesture as if to nullify prosecuting police officers.

  25. yahtzeebutterfly

    • TY for finding that, seems the jury agrees the da threw the case…….

      • Why the heck didn’t they feed the jurors? Nine hours of deliberations does not include the 2 hours they spent hearing closing arguments. Not feeding them seems to be a way to force them into making a decision while thinking more about their stomach than the case. Geez!

  26. Here’s Shelby’s interview video.

  27. Here is part 2.

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