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United States officer cleared in fatal shooting of unarmed black man

19 May, 2017, 15:31 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • Jury to hear closing arguments in Oklahoma officer's trial

Those gathered at the courthouse were peaceful. Tulsa police have said Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in his vehicle. "I've been harassed all night long by the citizens of Tulsa", she said.

Crutcher's twin sister said at a news conference that she doesn't believe justice was served in her brother's death. Another officer shot him with a Taser dart at about the same moment the fatal shot was sacked from Shelby's service weapon.

Crutcher lay on the ground for two minutes before the police checked him out.

At least four of the 12 jurors were crying as they left the courtroom and did not look at either the family of Crutcher or Shelby.

Before issuing the verdict late Wednesday, the nine White jurors and three Black jurors asked to explain their verdict in court.

A group of protestors block Denver Ave. near the Tulsa County Courthouse following the not guilty verdict in Betty Jo Shelby's manslaughter trial in Tulsa, Okla., on Thursday, May 18, 2017. "No Racist Police", the demonstrators chanted.

The shooting was among a string of highly publicized officer-involved shooting deaths of African American across the U.S.in recent years. Her attorneys called other police officers who had previous run-ins with Crutcher where he was allegedly "noncompliant" and "defiant", resulting in a stun gun being used on one occasion.

While Tulsa may get little national attention, racial disparities in mostly black north Tulsa are obvious: Neighborhoods without a real grocery store and a ZIP code where a black baby has 10 years less life expectancy than a white baby. The shooting led to the departure of the sheriff. "We witnessed injustice in its most disturbing form", Owens said, adding that "the absence of violence does not suggest the presence of peace".

Shelby said she shot 40-year-old Crutcher because she feared for her life, thinking he was reaching for a gun in his vehicle.

Prosecutors argued that Shelby "reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation" when they filed arrest papers. The video taken of Crutcher's shooting by a dashboard camera and helicopter shows Crutcher walking away from Shelby toward his SUV with hands above his head. Shelby said she fired out of fear September 16 when she killed Terence Crutcher. An autopsy showed PCP was in his system, and police said they found a vial of it in his vehicle.

Police said they asked Crutcher if the auto belonged to him, but he mumbled under his breath, not giving the officers a direct response, according to an affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray argued that even if Shelby followed her police training, which taught her that "action beats reaction", it doesn't mean she didn't commit a crime.

The defense accused Kunzweiler of hurriedly charging Shelby after the shooting and bowing to public and political pressure.

"I'm feeling that his intent is to do me harm and I keep thinking, 'Don't do this". Ms Shelby also said she feared Mr Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known as Angel Dust. "So in the end, he caused his own", Shelby said.

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