Jurors in Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby’s manslaughter trial will be able to hear the “bad dude” comment made about Terence Crutcher by an officer in a police helicopter minutes before Shelby shot him.
A judge made the ruling despite her attorneys’ argument that it would be prejudicial to her defense.
The Tulsa World reported that Shelby, 43, appeared before District Judge Doug Drummond at a Wednesday hearing to determine whether both sides are prepared for her May 8 trial in the Sept. 16 death of Crutcher, 40.
Drummond listened to arguments regarding a defense motion asking that jurors not be allowed to hear comments from Tulsa Police Officer Michael Richert in which he called Crutcher a “bad dude.” Richert and Shelby’s husband, Officer David Shelby, were watching the altercation unfold from a police helicopter.
The remark about Crutcher’s appearance drew outrage from members of Crutcher’s family and local and national social justice activist groups who said it was proof the officers involved in the incident racially profiled him. Crutcher was black; the officers on scene were white.
We previously discussed this issue here at Law Officer and found plenty of evidence that indicates that Terrence Crutcher was exactly what Officer Richert said. Last year, we listed five specific reasons why Crutcher was a “Big Bad Dude.”
Those that are supposedly “outraged” at this comment from a helicopter pilot up in the air watching a man defy police orders with a stature much larger than Shelby, want to take common sense out of the playbook when it comes to law enforcement.
Speaking of common sense, that is exactly what the judge in this case lacked when he admitted this statement into evidence. How did that statement have anything to do with what Shelby is charged with and if you admit a statement that Shelby knew nothing about at the time, then how do you not admit into evidence Crutcher’s history, which was full of violent crimes?
We will maintain a watch on this trial but this decision gives us no confidence that decisions will be made based upon the facts rather than emotions.
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