Tulsa cop Betty Shelby has been charged with first degree manslaughter for shooting and killing Terrence Crutcher, an innocent, unarmed African-American man in a video that shocked America. After the video was released, Tulsa cops tried to spin the facts, which showed Crutcher with his hands up, by saying they thought he was reaching inside the window of his car. His family lawyers enhanced the imagery and disproved that theory, so her lawyer is picking up the task of making up excuses after his client Shelby killed the unarmed man:
[Lawyer Scott] Wood said Shelby had experienced what is called “auditory exclusion”, a form of temporary hearing loss occurring under high stress. This is apparently why Shelby did not hear sirens from the additional police vehicles, she didn’t hear when Officer Tyler Turnbough arrived, nor did she hear him announce to her that he has his Taser.
That’s right. She is claiming that she lost all hearing, never heard back up behind her, and never heard the cop next to her yell that he had a taser.
It’s telling that the other officer on the scene pulled out a less lethal weapon – a taser – recognizing that Crutcher wasn’t an immediate threat, while Officer Shelby immediately drew her gun. Shelby doesn’t have much in the way of defense, so seizing on exotic theories to explain why she gunned down an unarmed man is pretty much all she can do.
Shelby faces first-degree manslaughter charges for killing Crutcher, but was released from jail only 23 minutes after her booking on a $50,000 bond — and remains free until trial. She is facing an arraignment hearing in front of a judge tomorrow, and was placed on paid administrative leave by her department — which is basically a fully-paid vacation.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition