Judge rules Crutcher's past interactions with police, times he resisted arrest admissible

Posted at 7:03 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-14 19:17:18-04

TULSA - Judge Doug Drummond rules Terence Crutcher's past interactions with police are admissible, including times he resisted arrest, but details of other crimes and time spent in prison are not. The state rested its case Friday and the defense put nine witnesses on the stand.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby is on trial for manslaughter in the shooting death of Crutcher last fall. 

This case could go to the jury next week and a verdict decided.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado and several other deputies took the stand Friday and testified that Shelby "was exceptional" when she worked at the TCSO.

Both sides were on edge in the courtroom as the judge ruled on evidence that was and was not admissible in the case.

"Perhaps the judge thinks that it's better to let this evidence in than to avoid the prospect that there will be an appeal on those grounds," legal analyst Adam Weintraub told 2 Works for You. 

Tulsa Police Department Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker also was called to testify and he told the jury that he felt "angry and disrespected" when he had to find out through the media that charges were filed against Shelby.

He said that he believed charges were filed by District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler before the investigation was complete. 

"They had an affidavit that showed probable cause, the charges were filed," said Weintraub. "I think it was all proper."

The District Attorney's Office fought back in disagreement with Sgt. Walker, saying they had the dash cam and helicopter video, plus all of the statements from the officers on the scene on Sept. 16, 2016.

"The fact that the police department wasn't necessarily in the inner circle, well it was one of their own that was being charged," Weintraub said.

Sgt. Walker said the helicopter video he saw had been enhanced to "make it more clear."

"I'm not really sure from the videos I've seen what Mr. Crutcher's hands were doing or whether the windows were open or closed," Weintraub said.

A Tulsa Police DNA  analyst was next and he testified that "it's not clear if someone reached through Crutcher's car window" because the DNA swabs of the window showed nothing.

"That is damaging to the defense's case," Weintraub pointed out.

The defense called several witnesses to the stand who said they saw Crutcher in the hours before he was shot. They claimed they called 9-1-1 before officer Shelby arrived on the scene.

The defense also called to the stand the man in the DA's office responsible for filing paperwork that put Shelby in jail - Douglas Campbell. Questions arose of why the DA's office, in the documentation, include facts in the arrest affidavit the defense deemed important. Like the PCP in Crutcher's system?

"The state doesn't have to prove a perfect investigation; they have to prove the elements of the crime," Weintraub said. "Anything the defense can do to cast a doubt, a reasonable doubt on the state's case, that's what the defense is going to do."

The defense called to the stand a deputy who had trained officer Shelby in drug recognition. The state countered with testimony about officer Shelby failing a pop quiz, got vocal and screamed and yelled.

This was an attempt on the prosecutor's part to show that she acted poorly in the Crutcher shooting.

The last three people on the stand Friday were people who testified to seeing Crutcher in the time just before the shooting. All told similar stories of a man acting strange while his car sat in the middle of the road. Two women said they asked him if he needed help and got bizarre responses. They said on the stand that he told them there was a bomb in his car and that it was on fire.

The trial will pick back up at 10 a.m. on Monday.


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