Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Officer arrested earlier this month in the on-duty shooting death of Terence Crutcher, will need to wait one more day to be arraigned on the first-degree manslaughter charge she faces.
Shelby has been set to be arraigned on Friday at 9 a.m., but one of her attorneys, Shannon McMurray, filed a motion seeking to have the arraignment accelerated to Thursday.
McMurray said safety concerns prompted the request, which, if accepted, would have seen Shelby whisked in and out of the Tulsa County Courthouse before any protests could gather. McMurray identified “safety” in her motion as the reason for the request.
“There has been an expression of concern by the sheriff’s office for the safety of all involved,” she wrote. Following the hearing she said that “professional protestors,” rather than protesting Tulsans, were her concern.
“This has attracted national attention … thank goodness we have been a community that has been stabilized, we appreciate that, everyone appreciates that,” she said. “It shows the dignity and respect we all do have for the system.
“People that are traveling from city to city that I would call professional protestors, that’s more what I was worried about.”
These so-called “professional protestors” became a topic last week on the day Shelby was charged. Rumors spread throughout Tulsa of a possible large-scale protest at the intersection of Highway 169 and 71st Street, prompting Saint Francis hospital to make preparations for extra patients.
Tulsa police, however, said the rumor was unsubstantiated and no protestors made an appearance at the intersection.
Shelby was charged one week ago with first-degree manslaughter in Crutcher’s death. The shooting was captured on both the dashboard camera of one of her backing officers, as well as a camera affixed to a police helicopter flying overhead.
Shelby’s camera did not record the incident.
Through her attorney, Shelby said that Crutcher was reaching into his pockets and not complying with her orders prior to backing officers arriving. The footage recorded by TPD shows Crutcher with his hands in the air, walking toward his SUV, which sat in the middle of the road near 36th Street North and North Lewis Avenue.
The video shows Crutcher reaching the driver’s side of his vehicle, and motioning near the window. Police have said Shelby feared Crutcher was reaching inside, possibly for a weapon. She fired one shot, striking him in the chest, but not before another officer Tasered Crutcher.
The District Attorney’s Office Investigator who filed an affidavit requesting Shelby be charged said he believed Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation,” and became “emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”
Scott Wood, who also represents Shelby, said his client did not hear her backing officer mention that he had drawn his Taser when she shot Crutcher.