Jury finds white Oklahoma cop not guilty in deadly shooting of unarmed black man
A jury on Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year.
Jurors reached their verdict after deliberating for just over nine hours.
Tulsa Officer Betty Jo Shelby says she shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher out of fear because she said he didn’t obey commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his SUV for what she thought was a gun.
Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted, arguing that Crutcher had his hands in their air and wasn’t combative.
The defense attacked prosecutors for charging Shelby with first-degree manslaughter just six days after the shooting, saying the case was rushed.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said defense attorneys know it was “a bad shoot.”
The shooting was among a spate of officer-involved shootings in recent years that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and prompted calls for more police accountability.
Crutcher is one of at least 20 black people in the U.S. whose deaths after police encounters in recent years have brought national attention and galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement has called on people to demand more accountability from law enforcement.