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Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was charged with manslaughter for shooting Terence Crutcher

Tulsa Police Department
Almost 400 black men have been killed by police since 2015.
By Hanna Kozlowska
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Prosecutors charged Betty Shelby, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed black motorist Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday, Sept. 22.

The 40-year-old Crutcher, a father of four, was shot on Sept. 16 when his car stalled on the way to a community college where he was taking a class. Helicopter and dashboard camera footage show that Crutcher was walking away from Shelby toward his car with his hands raised before several officers surrounded him. Police say one officer tasered Crutcher, and then Shelby shot him.

Footage of Crutcher’s death has sparked widespread outrage, and protests in Tulsa. His family demanded that the officer responsible for his death face criminal charges.

“Although she is charged, she is presumed innocent until a judge or jury determines otherwise,” Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County district attorney, said at a press conference. “I don’t know why things happen in this world the way they do.” He issued a warrant for Shelby’s arrest.

Shelby’s attorney said Crutcher was not following police commands, and that she fired when he began to reach into his car window, Time reports. The family disputes that the window to the car had been open. She’s been placed on administrative leave with pay.

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