On Thursday, Tulsa district attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced that Betsy Shelby, the officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher last Friday, would be charged with first-degree manslaughter. “I do not know why things happen in this world the way they do,” Kunzweiler said. “We need to pray for wisdom and guidance.”
Footage both from a police dashcam and a helicopter showed Crutcher with his hands up when he was shot. Shelby, however, has claimed that he was noncompliant, that she felt “threatened,” and that she suspected Crutcher of being high on PCP. Shelby was responding to a report of an SUV having been left unattended with its engine running in the middle of the road. The district attorney’s office wrote that Shelby “acted unreasonably by escalating the situation.”
Tulsa, which has a long history of racial tension, has been noticeably quieter than Charlotte, which has seen a number of violent demonstrations after another black man, Keith Lamont Scott, was killed by a police officer earlier this week. No charges have been filed in that case. It is, however, very difficult to convict police officers, as the failed prosecution of the officers involved in Freddy Gray’s death has proved.