First-Degree Manslaughter Charge for Tulsa Cop Who Killed Terence Crutcher

DOJ launches a civil rights investigation of last week’s shooting.

Tulsa County DA Steve Kunzweiler announced the charge on Thursday.Tom Gilbert/AP

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The Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man late last week will be charged with first-degree manslaughter, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said during a press conference Thursday. Video of the encounter showed Officer Betty Shelby shooting Terence Crutcher, 40, while he had at least one hand in the air. (You can read more about what happened here.) The Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

In addition this week, the Tulsa police released some new details about Shelby. The 42-year-old officer has been with the Tulsa PD for five years. She previously served four years with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office before leaving in 2011. Before that, she served a short stint in the Oklahoma National Guard. In her application to join the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office—made public this week—Shelby acknowledged that she and an ex-boyfriend had filed restraining orders against each other in 1993 after a breakup. The orders were later dismissed. In 2002, the wife of Shelby’s ex sought a protective order, alleging that Shelby had made harassing phone calls to her. A judge denied the order.

Last month, the Tulsa Police Department praised Shelby in a Facebook post after she helped a couple whose apartment was burglarized track down their stolen property.

 

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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