A jury has been set in the Manslaughter trial of Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby. The jury, heavily weighted with females including two African Americans, has heard two days of testimony from witnesses called by the prosecution and things aren’t going that well for the prosecution team causing some to ask why certain witnesses are being used.
The state acknowledged in their opening statement that Terrence Crutcher’s car window was indeed down, which goes against what activists and lawyers for the Crutcher family have previously said to the media.
Officer Shelby had previously said that Crutcher’s behavior was highly erratic and he refused to follow multiple commands. She said that when he walked to his car and reached inside, she fired one round, fearing for her life.
According to News On 6’s Lori Fullbright, defense attorneys for Shelby said in opening statements that they would be calling 911 callers to the stand that will testify that they were scared of Crutcher’s behavior and one believed that he had a gun in his car. One of the callers indicated that he had something in the car that was going to “blow up.”
Much has been said about the backing officer, Tyler Turnbough, who ran to Shelby and pulled his Taser on Crutcher. Turnbough, called as a state witness, said that he pulled his Taser after seeing Shelby with her gun out and that was following protocol.
Turnbough testified that Crutcher’s behavior made him extremely uncomfortable and uneasy. Fullbright states that when asked how often suspects have guns in the car when they refuse commands and go to the car, he stated “ten to thirty percent of the time.” He was then asked how many times it takes for an officer be shot if a gun is in the car and he said “once.”
Turnbough said Shelby was making loud, clear commands that Crutcher was completely disregarding.
Once Crutcher was at his driver’s side window, he turned to face the officers, then reached inside the window, which was rolled halfway down, with his left hand.
At that point, Turnbough said he fired his Taser, which made a loud popping noise. He said he saw Crutcher bleeding so he dropped his Taser.
Another state witness, Tulsa Police Officer Jason Roy arrived to the scene as the shooting occurred. Asked what he would have done if he had been in Shelby’s shoes, knowing what he knows now, would he have fired his weapon? He answered “yes.”
Tulsa Police Officer Michael Richert was the helicopter pilot that called Crutcher a “bad dude” as he was above watching the incident take place. Many have used those comments to claim that Crutcher was targeted because of his race and Al Sharpton even called for his arrest.
The state asked Richert about the line, he said all he meant by that was that it looked like a bad situation. He said in his 12 years on the force, he’s never seen someone walk away from an armed officer, and for that reason, he knew the situation was bad.
The admission of the helicopter audio by the judge has been questioned since officers on the ground could not hear it. In addition, Crutcher’s violent past and criminal history has been barred by the judge from being included at the trial.
Tulsa Police Officer Dean Montgomery, a member of the Critical Response Team, testified next and said that when he arrived, Shelby was “very humble, aware of her surroundings, aware of what just transpired.”
Once they arrived back at the station, Montgomery said Shelby kept asking, “Why didn’t he listen to my commands?” He said, at that point, Shelby was visibly upset and became anxious and nervous.
Montgomery said that’s normal behavior for someone who has just been in a critical situation like she had.
Reports are indicating that the case for the prosecution may not get better as the lead homicide sergeant is expected to discuss that his opinion or report was not used to bring criminal charges and the lab technician will be discussing the effects of PCP and TCP on individuals. As we have previously discussed, a combination of PCP and TCP is likely the most deadly, problematic drug on the planet.
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