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.
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.
On September 16, 2016, Terence Crutcher was shot dead by Tulsa Police Department Officer Betty Shelby.
Shelby was hired by the Tulsa Police Department in 2011 after working for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office from June 2007 to November 2011.
In the 5 years that she’s been on the police force, Shelby had two excessive force complaints. Authorities say that both were unfounded.
The following information is from Betty Shelby’s application for employment with the Tulsa Sheriff’s Department, which you can read at this link.
When she applied for a position as a deputy sheriff in 2007, Shelby had been married twice before she married Dave Shelby, her current husband, who also works for the Tulsa Police Department and was in the helicopter that captured video of Shelby killing Terence.
Based on her 2007 application for employment, Shelby had not worked since 2002. Her last job before being hired as a deputy sheriff was as a teacher’s assistant. She wrote on the application that she quit that job to attend school full-time.
On her application for employment, Shelby answered “yes” to the question, “Ever possessed or used illegal drugs?”
She also answered “yes” to having a protection order filed against her, or pending action.
Some sources are reporting purported letters that Shelby wrote explaining the orders of protection and her drug use, but those letters have not been publicly released.
NBC reports that the 42-year old officer’s work history and past conduct are now under scrutiny as authorities examine if she acted within reason in killing 40-year old Terence Crutcher.
Robert Bates, 74 years old, was a Tulsa, Oklahoma reserve deputy when he was part of a sting operation. Bates fatally shot unarmed Eric Harris, and said that he mistook his gun for his taser. Eric was restrained when Bates shot him.
On April 2, 2015, a jury found Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter. The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 4 years in prison. Bates wife has stated that because of his age and health, her husband is likely to die in prison.
(Editorial opinion: The same conditions applied to Bates when he went on the sting operation with a loaded gun. Bates could not distinguish where he carried his gun from where he carried his taser, nor that it was unnecessary to employ a taser upon a physically restrained suspect. He should not have been working in that capacity.)
After sentencing, Bates was escorted to the jail, and is expected to be transferred to a state prison next week.
The shooting was captured on video and lead to investigations about pay to play, questions about training standards for volunteer deputies, and favoritism. A review found an internal memo questioning Bates’ qualifications as a volunteer deputy and showed that Bates, a close friend of the sheriff’s, had donated thousands of dollars in cash, vehicles and equipment to the sheriff’s office.
A grand jury also investigated and indicted the longtime sheriff, Stanley Glanz, in September 2015, accusing him of failing to release a 2009 memo. He resigned on Nov. 1 2015.
Considering the discoveries and reforms, Eric Harris’ death was not in vain.
Trial started this week for Robert Bates, the ex-volunteer reserve sheriff deputy for the Tulsa County, Oklahoma’s Sheriff’s office.
On April 2, 2015, an undercover deputy was conducting a sting operation to catch 44-year old Eric Harris illegally selling a gun. Bates, who is 73-years old, volunteered to help out. Eric ran, and upon apprehension and taken to the ground, Bates pulled his gun and shot Eric in the back.
Bates’ defense is that he thought he was taking out and discharging his taser and not his .357. Bates is charged with 2nd degree manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to 4 years in prison.
The killing of Eric Harris resulted in activists organizing. The actions of We The People resulted in a grand jury investigation into the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office. The grand jury indicted Sheriff Glanz on 2 misdemeanor charges, including one for denying lawful requests of internal investigations into his office’s Reserve Deputy program. After almost 30 years as Sheriff, Stanley Glanz resigned.
Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
I’m trying out the Word Press feature “press this.” It is a feature where I can copy from a newspaper article and click “press this” and it puts it in a post for the blog, with attribution. It saves time writing new posts from scratch. The following is the “press this” article, followed with additional information.
Posted: Monday, September 21, 2015 11:01 amTULSA (AP) –
Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the agency after a volunteer deputy fatally shot an unarmed man. Grand jurors have been conducting a probe of Glanz’s office for the past seven weeks. At least 19 current or former sheriff’s office employees and others have been called upon to testify, including fired Maj. Shannon Clark, demoted Capt. Billy McKelvey and former Maj. Tom Huckeby, the Tulsa World reported.
The investigation was launched after former reserve deputy Robert Bates fatally shot Eric Harris, who was unarmed, on April 2. Bates has said he mistook his hand gun for a stun gun. After the shooting, it was discovered that officer Robert Bates hadn’t received adequate training over the years of his service.
Bates has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death. Glanz confirmed the subpoena Thursday after a swearing-in ceremony for 21 cadets. He declined to comment further on his upcoming grand jury appearance next week. Read the rest of this entry
Hi! Santiago here.
Has anyone seen the movie The Purge?
Wikipedia describes it as;
The Purge is a 2013 American social science fiction action horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco. It stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder.
The “New Founding Fathers of America”, which took over following an economic collapse and instituted totalitarian rule, has established one night a year -called “the Purge”- in which all crime is legal and all police, fire and medical emergency services are shut down for 12 hours, from 7 pm till 7 am. The purge has resulted in crime and unemployment rates plummeting to 1% and a strong economy. Although it is thought to be used as an act of catharsis for the U.S. populace, in reality, it is used as a method of artificial population control, as the people living in poor areas are usually the main targets.
Today’s events, and particularly what Tulsa, OK pay-to-play Bates did, caused me to think of The Purge. Words can not express my disgust when looking at the events that led to this tragedy. Sure, Eric Harris was illegally selling firearms to undercover wanna be cop Robert Bates, but the question remains as to how and why a 73-year old business man would be allowed to participate in undercover sting operations such as this. Read the rest of this entry
Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.
And it gets worse. The certifications have gone missing:
Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.The sheriff’s deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio…
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