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Betty Shelby Reprimanded By Judge After “60 Minutes” Interview

Betty Shelby Reprimanded By Judge After “60 Minutes” Interview

KOTV reports that Tulsa County District Judge Doug Drummond isn’t happy about Betty Shelby’s prime time interview with “60 Minutes.”

The judge reprimanded her in a written order on Thursday for speaking about the case.

Shelby told correspondent Bill Whitaker that she used lethal force on 40-year-old Terence Crutcher because she feared he was reaching inside his SUV for a gun.

Shelby also said Crutcher’s race had nothing to do with her decision to use lethal force.

Judge Doug Drummond issued the formal rebuke Thursday, cautioning attorneys that further publicity could jeopardize the chance of having an impartial trial.

Shelby has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter. Her trial is scheduled to start May 8.


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  1. Marie Parish Weathers

    The only question to ask. “If this was a case of a black officer shooting a white man, would these same charges still be brought?” My best bet is NO.

    • corina1231

      I live in the Bay Area. You could never get a jury to convict a black officer under these circumstances, no matter what the race of the suspect.

  2. Samuel Fivey

    I’d be very interested in this site’s editorial view on this; however, out of respect for the editor’s day job I shan’t ask.

    There are three parts to the rest of this: who should have spoken, her decision to speak, and the judge’s order.

    Like many of the so-called controversial shootings, the comments in the media have been painful to watch. Agencies either do not talk or say utterly the wrong thing. When they should be educating the community on the law, training, tactics, and reasonableness far too often they go silent which abandons the field to the other side – defendant’s family & counsel as well as all sorts biased, agenda driven individuals with no understanding of the realities in these events. They lie about the law and the facts, while training and reality never come into play. So, who should be talking? The agency should be communicating policy and training, along with why the training addresses what is does. The attorney should be talking, at least until there is a gag order in the case. The employee associations really need to get out and start positively representing their people. Find someone on the executive board who is a competent use of force instructor to explain training and these events. Talk about case law, educate the community.

    Whether Officer Shelby should have spoken or not is beyond my purview. Do I understand why she talked? Absolutely. Look at the staggeringly false claims of racism and incompetence made against, the death threats that forced her to flee & go into hiding. Media will track down officers’ home & cell phones, as well as those of their families, and call repeatedly. When the officer doesn’t talk, because we cannot and should not, the reporter beings in the families of the suspect to spin their story. After enough abuse, I can completely see why she made the decision to talk publicly. She was just outclassed by someone who appears on camera for a living, who controls the editing process, and who has a race based biased coupled with no clue about the standards for using force.

    Having no idea what ruling, direction, or order from the judge was in place before hand, it is difficult to argue against his ruling now.

    We – agencies, officers, employee associations – need to do a whole lot better job explaining the legal standards and our training to the public. If not, the current very favorable court rulings we work under are going to change based on demands from the ignorant and uninformed court of public opinion.

    • Law Officer

      You are correct. One member of our editorial team works at this agency and he does not comment on local issues. Although, if the need arises, the remaining members of our team will. Thank you.

      • Samuel Fivey

        Now that the case is over and Officer Shelby is somewhat restored to duty, it would be interesting to see L/O’s perspective on the interview.
        Both Officer Shelby and former Officer Darrin Wilson gave national media interviews while their cases were pending. This may be a trend in terms of officers needing to defend themselves in the court of public opinion – when they’ve been abandoned or thrown to the wolves.
        The topic is one police media outlets should strongly consider discussing.

  3. Duane Wolfe

    I thought it was a interesting decision by her and her attorney. I assume the department also had knowledge and approval. Perhaps a change in tactics due to so many situation when the public only hears one side of the case before trial?

    • richard scalzo

      As she has been charged, I doubt her department has any control over her public comments relating to her own trial.

      • corina1231

        Absolutely right. It’s her call and her call only until a judge puts the gag order in place.

    • LegalBeagle

      If by “interesting”, you mean utterly stupid, I agree. Mr. Fivey is correct about the dereliction of the command staff and union reps in most cases, failing to address the actual facts and the real legal standards. Her attorney may not be able to due to the general rules about pre-trial publicity, and apparently the order here. I witnessed an officer’s experiences in a similarly high profile shooting; the lies of plaintiff’s counsel; the mixture of lies and incompetence of the reporters writing about the incident, and the cowardly lack of appropriate support for that officer by his command staff.

      In this case, we have substantial misconduct by the DA in filing this case. He rushed to file, without having a complete investigation, and without properly considering her available defenses. In my state, that would be a serious violation of the bar ethics rules, similar to the exposure Mosby has for her charging decisions and the lies she told with regard to the death of Freddie Gray. One would hope that he ends up disbarred over this.

      We also have staggering cowardice and incompetence on the part of the agency command staff; the Chief and probably several others should have been the subjects of both no-confidence votes and Loudermill hearings within two business days of the asinine statements made. Utterly shameful. The agency’s legal advisors should have vigorously told the Chief to drink a HUGE cup of STFU – their failure to do so (as far as we know) was also malpractice.

      I can see why she is frustrated and angry. If she does not have a huge amount of righteous indignation, there is something wrong with her. However, this interview should never have happened. If her attorney was not consulted first, shame on her. If counsel said anything other than HELL NO, shame on him. If I was her attorney, she’d hear feedback that would make R. Lee Ermey look like a Dale Carnegie salesman.

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