Betty Shelby, the former Tulsa, Oklahoma cop who shot unarmed motorist Terence Crutcher during a traffic encounter, has been acquitted of manslaughter.
“I feared for my life,” she told a Tulsa jury on Monday.
Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed on Sept. 16 after he parked his SUV in the middle of a roadway. Witnesses say he was behaving erratically.
The jury announced its verdict after 8 hours of deliberation just after 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The jury never got a chance to hear a comment made by Shelby’s husband, Officer David Shelby, calling Crutcher “a bad dude,” as he hovered in a helicopter over the scene.
Crutcher’s death touched off massive protests by Black Lives Matter and others around the country.
Video footage released by police showed Crutcher walking slowly toward his SUV while officers yelled orders at him to stop.
Shelby fired the shot that killed Crutcher without provocation as he stood outside his truck.
Crutcher’s family expressed disappointment in the verdict outside the courtroom.
“Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor,” said Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher. “Betty Shelby had the gun. Betty Shelby was following him with his hands up.”
A toxicology report revealed Crutcher was high on 2 hallucinogens, including PCP.
Officers waited until two minutes after Crutcher was shot to render aid.
Jerad Lindsey, chairman of Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, said that the jury’s verdict was the right one, but said the shooting was a tragedy. “There’s no winners in this,” he said. “There’s still a family that has dealt with a tragedy here, the Crutchers, and we still extend our deepest sympathies to them.”