Although multiple police cameras, including those mounted in squad cars and in a helicopter, captured the Crutcher shooting on tape, the circumstances that prompted Shelby to shoot the unarmed man who was backing away from officers towards his SUV has never been made clear.
The hazy circumstances of the shooting prompted state and federal investigations leading indictment and the current trial for wrongful death, an outcome actively pursued by the victim’s twin sister Tiffany Crutcher.
Police video shows Terence Crutcher being pursued by officers as he walks towards an SUV in Tulsa, Okla on Sept 16, 2016. Minutes later, Officer Turnbough tased him while his partner officer Shelby, simultaneously shot him with her sidearm
Asked by CBS journalist Bill Whitaker, how she felt about the death of Terence Crutcher, Shelby replied: “I have sorrow that this happened that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur. So in the end, he caused his own,” she added.
Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby leaves court after entering a not-guilty plea last December
“I’m feeling that his intent is to do me harm and I keep thinking, ‘Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Don’t make this happen,'” said Shelby, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter and goes on trial May 8.
Shelby told Whitaker that she remembers pulling the trigger.
“It’s like slow motion of me bringing my gun up, my finger coming in and then letting off. And he stopped and then he just slowly fell to the ground,” she said.
Prosecutors contend that Shelby overreacted because Crutcher wasn’t armed or combative when she approached him on a north Tulsa street after his SUV broke down. They say he obeyed orders to raise his hands. After the shooting, investigators determined that Crutcher didn’t have a weapon on him or in his SUV.
The shooting was caught on video from a police helicopter and a dashboard camera. Footage showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his arms in the air, but the images don’t provide a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot.