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Protesters gather as Betty Shelby prepares to teach class for Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies

Posted at 5:44 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 18:44:41-04

TULSA, Okla. -- Dozens of Tulsans met in front of the courthouse Monday afternoon, protesting Betty Shelby, the former Tulsa Police officer acquitted of manslaughter after shooting Terence Crutcher almost two years ago.

"A diverse group of individuals who feel the same way. The moisaic of diversity will show that this is not a black and white issue. This is a human issue. And it's just sad for them to use a person as polarizing as Betty Shelby to in fact teach a critical incident class," Morning Star pastor Rodney Goss said.

Shelby is currently a patrol officer for the Rogers County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff said she's a survivor and others can benefit from her training.

"It's not about tactics. It's not about when to shoot, when not to shoot. It's about what she endured, what her family went through for the next eight months after her critical incident," Sheriff Scott Walton said.

Shelby's class focuses on surviving the aftermath of officer involved shootings. She's taken the training to multiple counties, and this week will speak with Tulsa County deputies. Walton said these incidents are becoming more common.

"I think they're more frequent now, with a lot of the issues that we face. A lot more mental health issues, a lot more substance abuse issues, put all these things together and a police officer's job gets a lot tougher," he said.

But those at the protest said her class is insensitive, ripping the scab off a wound that's still healing.

"There's been a lot of meetings with law enforcement, leaders in law enforcement, discussions. We leave those meetings supposedly feeling good. But then you turn right around and a decision like this is made," Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper said.

Staff with TCSO said they still plan to host the class, which will take place on Tuesday.

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