First-Degree Manslaughter Charge for Tulsa Cop Who Killed Terence Crutcher

DOJ launches a civil rights investigation of last week’s shooting.

Tulsa County DA Steve Kunzweiler announced the charge on Thursday.Tom Gilbert/AP

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The Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man late last week will be charged with first-degree manslaughter, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said during a press conference Thursday. Video of the encounter showed Officer Betty Shelby shooting Terence Crutcher, 40, while he had at least one hand in the air. (You can read more about what happened here.) The Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

In addition this week, the Tulsa police released some new details about Shelby. The 42-year-old officer has been with the Tulsa PD for five years. She previously served four years with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office before leaving in 2011. Before that, she served a short stint in the Oklahoma National Guard. In her application to join the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office—made public this week—Shelby acknowledged that she and an ex-boyfriend had filed restraining orders against each other in 1993 after a breakup. The orders were later dismissed. In 2002, the wife of Shelby’s ex sought a protective order, alleging that Shelby had made harassing phone calls to her. A judge denied the order.

Last month, the Tulsa Police Department praised Shelby in a Facebook post after she helped a couple whose apartment was burglarized track down their stolen property.

 

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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