Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2016

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with First-Degree Manslaughter

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:51 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed stalled motorist Terence Crutcher last Friday, was charged by the Tulsa District Attorney earlier today. If convicted, she faces a minimum of four years of imprisonment.

Crutcher’s car had stalled in the middle of a city street on the afternoon of September 16 when Shelby’s patrol car passed by on the way to responding to a domestic violence call. Shelby failed to activate the dashcam in her patrol car, so it was left to a police helicopter to provide footage of what transpired. The footage appears to show Crutcher standing alongside the driver’s side of the vehicle with his hands up. At some point his hands seem to lower towards the window (the helicopter at this point has moved to the passenger’s side of the vehicle, so the view is partially obstructed) and Shelby shoots him with her service weapon. Shelby maintained that Crutcher was reaching inside of the vehicle, perhaps to retrieve a weapon, but there is pretty compelling evidence to suggest that the window was in fact rolled up, and no weapon was recovered from the vehicle.

The public outcry was immediate though protests in Tulsa appear to have steered clear of the ugly violence that has marred the protests in Charlotte. Credit is due to the citizens of Tulsa who allowed the district attorney’s office to do its job by conducting a thorough investigation and bringing charges according to what they learned.

– JVW

41 Responses to “Tulsa Police Officer Charged with First-Degree Manslaughter”

  1. And I doubt that anyone in Tulsa in a leadership position demonstrated the sheer banality of Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte.

    JVW (6e49ce)

  2. I knew the home of the Gap Band wouldn’t let me down.

    urbanleftbehind (f65350)

  3. well tulsa has many sober minded folk, their voting patterns indicate this,

    narciso (d1f714)

  4. however, that isn’t an surety bond,

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/tulsa-police-officer-shares-side-story-terence-crutchers/story?id=42243843

    the scorched earth near here is still present,

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. The district attorney did not do his job. He brought a grossly inappropriate charge quickly for political reasons. May he fester in Hell.

    Betty Shelby’s shot was entirely defensible. Crutcher brought this on himself.

    Denver Guy (4750ec)

  6. So I’m not a cop, but how come Shelby, the officer with her service weapon drawn, is the one following Crutcher to the car while the other officer, who supposedly had his Taser drawn, is the one who lingers behind? That doesn’t seem like careful police work. Shouldn’t it be exactly the other way around?

    JVW (6e49ce)

  7. The first degree murder charge strikes me as excessive. At most, second degree murder.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  8. yes, the first would have to be premeditated, the second the result of a struggle, neither obtains,

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. First degree manslaughter — something like third-degree murder. Mistaken self-defense (apparently).

    nk (dbc370)

  10. The couple I had — punishable by up to five years (not four as in Oklahoma) — resulted in probation. After trial. Not plea deal.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. No gun enhancement? That’s interesting.

    A gun enhancement would tack on 25 years in Illinois.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. She might be guilty of taking this man’s life. But maybe the lawyerly types can advise. Doesn’t First Degree Murder require planning? I don’t see how she could have planned this.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  13. S-H-E I-S N-O-T C-H-A-R-G-E-D W-I-T-H F-I-R-S-T D-E-G-R-E-E M-U-R-D-E-R!

    nk (dbc370)

  14. yes, we jumped to conclusion, now we have to bandage our shins,

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. Early reports were First degree murer. I admit that early reports get things wrong, but I think can at least be forgiven when they get the charges wrong. How hard is that?

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  16. Steve57,

    A manslaughter charge is not the same as one for murder.

    As for that not being an appropriate charge if I were a legislator I would push for making mistaken self-defense by a cop be equivalent to 1st degree murder. Our legal system goes after folks who actually attack cops with enormous vigor, I believe there should be a reciprocal need on the part of police to be very sure of their actions.

    Soronel Haetir (86a46e)

  17. I don’t think so, cops are being deliberately slain because of who they are, the reverse is true with those in confrontations with law enforcement.

    narciso (d1f714)

  18. Someone that twitchy should not be on the street with a gun and a badge. Her supervisors should be under scrutiny too.

    LBascom (c230be)

  19. Reality check. Try finding a jury that will convict. My prediction, a hung jury, another hung jury. A plea deal and Betty makes a living speaking to civic groups about how lack of training and blatant sexism coupled with a split second decision decision under stress ruined her life.

    Anon (5a4596)

  20. Although to be fair, they are probably under pressure to have women out there in the name of diversity.

    LBascom (c230be)

  21. Make her seem not only the hair trigger but also the woman with an unfair “in” to a job she can’t handle (her hubby is also Tulsa PD, she also made threats to the husbands ex wife). That said as long as those people behave, a guilty verdict is feasible.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  22. @6 “how come Shelby, the officer with her service weapon drawn, is the one following Crutcher to the car while the other officer, who supposedly had his Taser drawn, is the one who lingers behind?” Would _you_ walk in front of her with her pistol drawn?

    My impression from the video is that she banged her knuckles on the vehicle, causing an accidental discharge. If she _meant_ to shoot him, she would have fired more rounds, since he stands there for several seconds after being shot just the one time. You can tell from her voice on the radio that she knew she screwed up.

    It was an accident. I’m pretty sure she did not come to work that day thinking “Gee I hope I get to shoot a black man today.” But try telling that to the dupes of the BLM and the Dems.

    gp (0c542c)

  23. sounds like mistakes were made

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  24. sounds like mistakes were made

    Mostly by Terrence Crutcher. Totally predictable that what he did could result in his death.

    Denver Guy (4750ec)

  25. Credit is due to the citizens of Tulsa who allowed the district attorney’s office to do its job by conducting a thorough investigation and bringing charges according to what they learned.

    No credit is due. There never was any impulse to do this in the first place, nor was any opportunity, because the organizers of this kind of thing weren’t active in Tulsa.

    There is no more credit due than, say, people in 2006 and all the years past deserve credit for not doing this kind of thing when this didn’t happen when a policeman shot someone with doubtful justification.

    It’s not like there is a new epidemic of this. Policemen and police women are human beings. They are not angels, so this kind of thing is always possible.

    For this kind of unrighteous rioting to happen, there has to be something very bad going on for sometime in that city out of national attention.

    Sammy Finkelman (dec35d)

  26. I think that this is a charge for legal purposes to get the issue off of the news. The Tulsa PD etc can then figure out what happened.

    First, the car was apparently running, not stalled. The person was not near the car when the police officer pulled up to it. She did not pass by the car, but stopped to check it out. This is in a rural area (two lane road, no street lights) so I would not say that it is a “city street”. It is also at 7:45pm, when sunset was about 7:25pm, so not an afternoon situation – yes the police video looks lighter it’s the camera). She is alone for a while until the backup arrives. The helicopter was somewhere in the area and was probably diverted to this scene because of the lack of backup.

    OKC and Tulsa are large in area, though not as concentrated in population as coastal areas, so police copters are a method of patrol. I see them all of the time. So what.

    The car has dark window tinting on the back window and the sides. The front row,the second row and the sunroof look lighter, suggesting that those windows are open. This is Oklahoma, windows are tinted darker due to the summer sun and heat.

    She was first on the scene, so appropriate to have gun out based on the situation. Note that the officer probably ran the car tag and looked for the owner’s name in the criminal data base. We do not know who owned the car and there has been some confusion on the spelling of the person’s first name. Later in the video, the backup shows up and it is appropriate then to have taser available.We do not know of the communication between the officer and the suspect as well as the conversations between the officers.

    It’s been reported that the taser was discharged first, so it is possible that the police officer reacted to the taser noise and discharged weapon. I talked with a former military police and he confirmed the noise/shock aspect could cause someone to react and pull the trigger. In this scenario, your finger would not be straight in the safety position but on the trigger. He also mentioned that they should have trained for that situation

    We need to have the full report of all of the officers on the scene. Yes, it is good that charges were issued but I am not convinced that the shooting was not appropriate. I will wait for the full evidence to be provided at a trial.

    liz in OKC (6f4cc3)

  27. Denver Guy (4750ec) — 9/22/2016 @ 9:05 pm

    Totally predictable that what he did could result in his death.

    Maybe to somebody who knew how the police were trained, but not to Terrence Crutcher.

    And predictable doesn’t mean justified.

    she probably fifed because she was so startled, she was afraid to take the time to evaluate te situation. After the first bullet, she realized there was nothing hostile to her going on.

    Sammy Finkelman (dec35d)

  28. Reality check. Try finding a jury that will convict. My prediction, a hung jury, another hung jury. A plea deal and Betty makes a living speaking to civic groups about how lack of training and blatant sexism coupled with a split second decision decision under stress ruined her life.
    Anon (5a4596) — 9/22/2016 @ 8:29 pm

    If mistakes were made, or worse was done, then the price must be paid.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  29. There never was any impulse to do this in the first place, nor was any opportunity, because the organizers of this kind of thing weren’t active in Tulsa.

    That’s my point, Sammy. Tulsa is apparently the sort of town where a Shaun King or Deray Mckesson can’t just swoop in and whip up a frenzy, and where even George Soros doesn’t think it pays to organize a rent-a-mob. That is to Tulsa’s credit, and specifically it seems to be to the Tulsa black community’s credit that they don’t fall for the self-aggrandizing acts of those hustlers.

    JVW (6e49ce)

  30. Elephant in room -http://tulsahistory.org/learn/online

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  31. Or Google: 1921 tulsa race riot, black wall street. Pardon for truncated link above.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  32. 26. Thanks for solid analysis.

    Soros is behind BLM:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-22/who-behind-riots-charlotte-police-says-70-arrested-protesters-had-out-state-ids

    But blind, deaf and dumb #nevertrump detects no evil.

    DNF (ffe548)

  33. 28. No, the price paid to date covers a multitude of sins. GFY.

    DNF (ffe548)

  34. …if I were a legislator I would push for making mistaken self-defense by a cop be equivalent to 1st degree murder. Our legal system goes after folks who actually attack cops with enormous vigor, I believe there should be a reciprocal need on the part of police to be very sure of their actions.

    Soronel Haetir (86a46e) — 9/22/2016 @ 8:07 pm

    First degree murder is deliberate and premeditated. You would make a mistake equivalent to that? That is just so wrong.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  35. I’m sure plenty of hunters and parents of kids involved in negligent discharges have been thrown into the legal system before. I don’t think being a cop exempts her.

    There are obviously mitigating factors involved, and it would be interesting to see her training and psych evaluations.

    About 25 years ago a buddy and I were felony stopped by a game warden for spotlighting jackrabbits.

    It was out on a dark county road and we were held at gunpoint until deputies arrived to disarm us and sort things out.

    Our pistols and long guns were returned sans ammo and we went on our way when they determined we weren’t deer poachers.

    That situation was way more sketchy and there was no doubt in the warden’s mind we were armed and potentially dangerous.

    Pinandpuller (312a61)

  36. steve57,

    Yes, I believe that the enormous power we invest police with should be balanced with equal responsibility for its use. I don’t have a problem with the power side of the balance as things currently stand, I do have grave problems with the lack of responsibility on the other side.

    Soronel Haetir (86a46e)

  37. Mistaken self defense is not the same thing as premeditated murder. If you think this means I don’t think we should hold police accountable, you mistake me sir. But I do recognize degrees of culpability.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  38. I would agree with you if we were talking about someone not backed by all the power of the state.

    Soronel Haetir (86a46e)

  39. Well,
    it is not always true that a LE official is backed by all of the power of the state,
    sometimes they are hung out to dry for the sake of the politicos in charge.
    It can happen either way.

    From what I understand it is like this,
    it is easy for the Chief and mayor to dump on an officer
    and they look responsive to the community,
    whether the officer deserves punishment or not,
    then months later with the FOP involved, the officer gets quietly reinstated
    if there does not seem to be just cause for the discipline in the first place.

    At least that is how it seems to go in some places.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  40. that’s one interpretation, the other is the civil rights zampolit has the major departments on a tightrope, they don’t have to spell out what happened in sanford, ferguson and baltimore, all which occurred under the crump/julian public relations campaign,

    narciso (d1f714)


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