Last September in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a brief encounter between a black man, Terence Crutcher, and a white police officer, Betty Shelby, ended with Terence Crutcher’s death. He was shot by Officer Shelby who goes on trial in May for manslaughter. She faces four years to life in prison. The shooting was caught on videotape and inflamed the debate about race and policing that’s been roiling the nation since Ferguson.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Shelby blames Crutcher for his own death.
“What I based everything on was his actions, his behaviors,” she said. Shelby acknowledged, however, that Crutcher was not being aggressive.
“I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat,” she told CBS.
Crutcher’s toxicology reports showed that he had PCP in his system.
In videos provided by Tulsa police, Crutcher can be seen with his hands in the air shortly before he was shot.
“I don’t know what Officer Shelby was thinking when she pulled that trigger,” Tiffany Crutcher, the victim’s twin sister, told “60 Minutes.”
“What we saw on that video is what my dad always taught us to do if we were pulled over by a police officer. Put your hands in the air and put your hands on the car. And my brother did what my father taught us,” she said.
Shelby, who is on unpaid leave, said she regretted Crutcher’s death but that he was to blame.
“I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life. But he caused the situation to occur,” she said.
“So in the end, he caused his own” death, Shelby said.