UPDATE: 10:59 p.m. EDT — Terence Crutcher’s family called the Tulsa Police Department “corrupt” following the acquittal verdict in the case of Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, who was being tried for shooting an unarmed black man.
Crutcher's sister, Tiffany, reportedly said after the verdict: "Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor."
Rev. Joey Crutcher, father of the 40-year-old shooting victim, reportedly said: “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin urged people to maintain calm and to protest peacefully, following the acquittal verdict.
“I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner. I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this difficult time,” Fallin said in a statement.
Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby, who shot dead an unarmed black man last September, was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter. The jury reached the verdict after several hours of deliberations.
Terence Crutcher was fatally shot Sep. 16, 2016, after his SUV broke down in Tulsa. Following her arrest, Shelby testified she shot Crutcher when he reached into the car through a window instead of following her orders to show his hands. She had also said she suspected Crutcher of being under the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic known to make people erratic, unpredictable and combative. Toxicology reports showed Crutcher had 96 nanograms per milliliter of PCP in his system. His family argued that was not a reason for Shelby to have shot him.
The case went to the jury Wednesday afternoon and just before 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. EDT), it sent a note to Judge Doug Drummond to ask if it could explain its verdict, according to News9.com. Drummond told the jury members they could announce their decision in open court, but could give an explanation there.
Prosecutors reportedly told jurors that Shelby overreacted. During the closing arguments, they said 40-year-old Crutcher was not a threat to Shelby. However, defense attorney Shannon McMurray said the officer shot the man because she thought he was reaching for a gun in his SUV. Authorities did not find a gun in the vehicle.
"To somehow imply that she was supposed to see what was in this door panel is absurd. It's deceitful and you should disregard it," McMurray told jurors.
Crutcher’s family accused police of trying to “demonize” the victim over the drug possession (he had a vial of PCP with him at the time of the incident) to take away attention from the fact that the officer did not find a weapon inside his SUV.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray told jurors video clips showed Crutcher was shot five seconds before he appeared to reach inside the SUV. Several witnesses from both sides maintained Shelby acted within her training.
Last month, in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Shelby said race was not a factor that drove her to shoot Crutcher.
"I'm feeling that his intent is to do me harm and I keep thinking, "Don't do this. Please don't do this. Don't make this happen," Shelby said in the interview, adding Crutcher’s death was his own fault.
"I have sorrow that this happened that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur," Shelby said. "So in the end, he caused his own [death]."
However, Crutcher's sister Tiffany told "60 Minutes" Shelby was not justified in killing her brother.
"My brother's dead because she didn't pause. And because she didn't pause, my family, we've had to pause," she said. "We've had to stop. We've had to lay down every single night with tears in our eyes."
Crutcher’s shooting led to several protests across Tulsa, in which people accused police of racial profiling.