Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced first-degree manslaughter charges against Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby in the death of Terence Crutcher.
Below is a transcipt of his press conference that last five minutes. The video from his press conference is the player above.
The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Crutcher are on the hearts and minds of many people in this community.
It is important to note, that despite the heightened tensions felt by all, which seemingly beg for an emotional response and reaction, our community has consistently demonstrated a willingness to respect the judicial process.
It is the shared responsibility of all who have the ability to control their reactions to do just that.
To ministers of this community, all of your flock regardless of their color, their creed, their ethnicity, their background, social status, employment or neighborhood need the wisdom of your guiding hands.
To the media, your community need you now more than ever. They need you to be the objective messengers of the facts which report the truth.
To the lawyers, it is our responsibility to demonstrate to our community the importance of adherence to the rule of law and the ethical standards which allow our courtrooms to be the source of justice.
The review of cases involving alleged criminal conduct is the responsibility of the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. We review the facts of the allegations and apply the law to those allegations. It is our responsibility to determine if the filing of a criminal charge is justified under the law.
In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determined that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby is warranted. Officer Shelby, although now charged, is presumed to be innocent until a judge or a jury determines otherwise.
I do not know why things happen in this world the way they do. We need to pray for wisdom and guidance on each of our respective paths in life. Each of us at the end of our days will have to account for our own actions. The only way I know how to walk my path, is to try every day to pray, and to serve my fellow citizen, so that he or she may be lifted up.
When I started this press conference at 3:30 I directed my staff to file a criminal charge of manslaughter in the first degree. You can go down to the second floor of the court clerk’s office and obtain a copy of that criminal charge, there should be plenty of copies together with the affidavit. In addition to that, I have a press release and I will leave that up here and you can pick up a press release that summarizes much of the statements I’ve just made.
Attached to that press release will be the relevant, applicable law in the state of Oklahoma which defines what manslaughter is and what the Oklahoma uniform jury instructions say that standard is.
I encourage you as members of the media to review that and apply that in your news stories. But as I stated, Officer Crutcher [Shelby] is presumed innocent under the law until a judge or a jury determines otherwise.
Now the question is going to be asked, ‘Where is she?’ I have had a judge review a probable cause affidavit. A warrant has been issued for her arrest. I’ve been in communication with an attorney who has been retained to represent her, and arrangements are being made for her surrender to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department. Those matters will be addressed by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office in their due course.
I’m not going to answer any questions. Thank you for your attendance.
SPECIAL SECTION: Videos, background into fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher
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