by Micah J. Fleck
Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby plead not guilty on Friday in court regarding the charge of manslaughter she is facing for the killing of unarmed civilian Terence Crutcher. Her attorney, Scott Wood, did most of the talking, while Shelby stood around looking frightened, and shakily confirming her name for the judge.
According to USA Today:
The shooting by the white officer comes amid several police-involved shootings of African-Americans. A fatal shooting in Charlotte, N.C., five days later sparked public street protests that led authorities to deploy the National Guard.
One key difference in the two cases is that Tulsa authorities quickly released the video of the Crutcher killing while Charlotte police initially balked at releasing their footage.
Prosecutors also moved quickly to complete their initial investigation in the Tulsa case, leading to the arrest of Shelby one week later. The Charlotte incident has been taken over by the State Bureau of Investigation and remains open.
Shelby’s defense attorneys, in denying the charges against their client, has argued that Crutcher did not respond to her questions or commands. Instead, they argue, she felt her life was endangered when he allegedly moved his hand toward his pocket or to reach inside his car.
Allegedly. From what the fuzzy footage (taken from a helicopter) shows, Crutcher is unarmed with his hands visible the entire time. He is then tazed, shot, and falls to the ground.
Shelby was in custody until recently, when she was released on a $50,000 bond. She has been ordered back into court for a proper preliminary hearing November 29th.