TULSA – Regional law enforcement held a rally Tuesday to discuss the recent announcement that Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby is facing first degree manslaughter charges.
The regional law enforcement group said the rally was to “show solidarity for our brothers and sisters in blue as Tulsa County’s district attorney rushed to judgment against one of our own, without benefit of a full and complete investigation.”
It was scheduled to be held from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Hunter Park located at 5804 East 91st Street.
The charges against Officer Shelby followed the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher by Shelby on September 16.
A statement was sent by the group saying “First and foremost: Mr. Crutcher’s death is a very sad tragedy. Our hearts truly go out to his family members as they mourn the loss of his life, and we pray that his soul is in Heaven.”
Then the statement went on to say “Please understand: This is not about race, and it is not about our black citizens and our law-enforcement community being at odds with each other. This is also not about whether or not Mr. Crutcher’s hands were in the air most of the time, whether or not he had a gun, whether or not there were drugs in his vehicle or his body, or whether or not Officer Shelby had a Taser or knew that another officer had one ready to use. This is about whether or not Officer Shelby believed that her safety or life was in danger when she shot Mr. Crutcher with her gun. That is the only issue because that is the standard for our law-enforcement community for using deadly force.”
Read more of the statement below.
Mr. Kunzweiler himself acknowledges, through his chief investigator’s affidavit, that Mr. Crutcher “was mumbling to himself and would not answer any of Officer Shelby’s questions” and “kept putting his hands in his pockets” while “Officer Shelby kept telling him to show his hands”, that Mr. Crutcher, who “was wearing baggy clothing”, then “began walking towards the abandoned vehicle” while “not responding to any of Officer Shelby’s commands to stop” as “she […] pulled her duty weapon in the ready position and follow[ed] him to the vehicle” while “repeatedly” “yelling for him to stop and get on his knees”, and that Mr. Crutcher “continue[d] on [to] the driver’s side front door” and “reache[d] in the driver’s side front window” as another officer “fire[d] his [t]aser” while “Officer Shelby fire[d] one shot from her duty weapon” because “she was in fear of her life and thought that Mr. Crutcher was going to kill her”.
That is the definition of justified use of deadly force by a law-enforcement officer. If you want to see what can happen when a law-enforcement officer is confronted with exactly that scenario and does not respond in exactly that way, go to YouTube on the Internet, search for the name “Dinkheller”, and watch the very-disturbing dash-cam video.
Mr. Kunzweiler alleges, through his chief investigator’s affidavit, that Officer Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation” and “bec[a]m[e] emotionally involved to the point that she over[-]reacted”. It was not Officer Shelby who escalated the situation, and to say that she became emotionally involved and that she overreacted is despicable. Mr. Kunzweiler: Shame on you for saying such a disgraceful thing. Shame on you for rushing to file a charge based only on your office’s “investigation” without even having the toxicology report. Shame on you for playing politics and cowardly bowing to national pressure.
By filing this charge against Officer Shelby, Mr. Kunzweiler is saying that it no longer matters whether or not our law-enforcement officers fear for their safeties or their lives. If Officer Shelby is convicted of this, then the law-enforcement officers who protect us from murderers and robbers and rapists can no longer use their guns without fearing that we will put them in prison. That is the reality; that is not being overly-dramatic. Is that the city – or the nation – in which we want to live?