Published: Fri, June 02, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

A policeman was acquitted of the murder of an African-American man

A policeman was acquitted of the murder of an African-American man

As police helicopters circled overhead, Shelby claimed that Crutcher was erratic and not responding to her commands.

A jury has acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man a year ago.

Protesters gathered outside the Tulsa courthouse in the wake of the verdict.

Betty Shelby denied race was a factor when she shot Terence Crutcher and insisted her actions were driven entirely by the behavior of the man she shot. At left is Leanna Crutcher, the mother of Terence Crutcher and at right is Crutcher family attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons. "Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions", she said. "Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this hard time". Tulsa Police Department Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Jerad Lindsey said "this is not a celebratory moment".

In another video filmed inside a police auto, Mr Crutcher was seen walking away from officers and toward his vehicle with his hands up before he approached the door on the driver's side. Officer Shelby has been on unpaid leave from the Tulsa Police Department since she was charged.

The jury will decide whether Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby went too far September 16 when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on a city street where his SUV had stalled.

Still, by late Wednesday night, protesters had started to gather near the courthouse and blocked a road. "Shelby's attorneys argued she believed Crutcher was going to get a gun and she had to stop that threat".

Shelby said she shot 40-year-old Crutcher because she feared for her life, thinking he was reaching for a gun in his vehicle.

Crutcher's father, Joseph Crutcher, told reporters that the verdict was unjust. Four of the jurors were black.

Much of the testimony before the jury, which includes two black women and a black man, centered around what transpired in the incident and proper police protocol for dealing with such a situation.

Shelby told the jury she believed Crutcher may have been reaching into the vehicle through a partially open window in search of a weapon.

The video taken of Crutcher's shooting by the dashboard camera and helicopter shows Crutcher walking away from Shelby toward his SUV with hands above his head. Ms Shelby also said she feared Mr Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known as Angel Dust.

Police said they asked Crutcher if the auto belonged to him, but he mumbled under his breath, not giving the officers a direct response, according to an affidavit. He said his officers are trained to de-escalate tensions and that he expects demonstrations to continue to be peaceful.

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