Updated: TPD sergeant testifies DA ‘disrespectful’ when he brought charges against Shelby

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Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker reads a charging document on Sept. 22, 2016, after Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

When the Tulsa Police Department sergeant leading the investigation into the shooting of Terence Crutcher learned of the charges being brought against the officer involved, he was taken aback.

“It angered me a lot,” Sgt. Dave Walker testified Friday.

Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed charges against Betty Shelby for fatally shooting Crutcher on Sept. 22, 2016, six days after the incident.

Kunzweiler announced the charges through a news conference that day, which Walker didn’t know of until a reporter called him, Walker testified on Friday. The charges also came before Walker had finished a TPD investigation into the incident.

“I was taken aback by the lack of respect,” Walker said.

During cross-examination, Walker testified Kunzweiler didn’t consult with him before the charges were filed, however, Walker said he didn’t know whether the district attorney spoke with someone higher in command at the department.

Kunzweiler has maintained that TPD investigators were showing him pieces of their report as they were completing it and felt more than comfortable charging Shelby when he did.

Walker verified that the district attorney had portions of the report during testimony Friday. Information provided to Kunzweiler included dashcam and helicopter footage of the shooting, video of Shelby’s interview with Walker and officer interviews.

Walker said he found the charges unusual because they were the first brought against an on-duty police officer involved in a shooting by the Tulsa DA.

DA’s Office defends decision to file charges
On Friday afternoon, defense attorney Shannon McMurray grilled an investigator from the DA’s office about the agency’s decision to charge Shelby.

When Kunzweiler charged Shelby, the affidavit attached to the charge was written by Kunzweiler’s investigator, Doug Campbell.

McMurray was critical about what she considered to be Campbell’s lack of experience investigating homicides, and particularly, police-involved shootings.

Campbell testified he formerly worked at the TPD as a patrol officer for 11 years and was later a traffic fatality detective.

Asked why Campbell’s affidavit didn’t include details such as Crutcher being on the influence of PCP, a powerful hallucinogen, or that his car was running and not broken down, Campbell said he didn’t believe it was important to the affidavit. He wasn’t certain Crutcher was high on PCP.

Campbell pointed out his affidavit notes Crutcher wasn’t following Shelby’s commands.

During cross-examination, when Kunzweiler asked Campbell whether police departments, especially the TPD, included every detail in their affidavits, Campbell said no.

McMurray questioned why Campbell didn’t interview Shelby or other officers on scene of the shooting. Campbell said he had reports from Walker.

During cross-examination, Kunzweiler pointed out that he and Campbell also visited the crime scene and viewed Crutcher’s SUV with Walker.

“I knew Walker was capable,” Campbell said of depending on Walker’s reports.

“But not capable of making an arrest affidavit for Officer Shelby?” McMurray replied.

Prosecutors have maintained Shelby got special treatment after she shot and killed Crutcher because she is an officer. Shelby wasn’t interviewed by police about the incident until three days after.

During cross-examination, Kunzweiler asked Campbell why investigators wouldn’t want to question Shelby immediately after the shooting happened.

“Would you make it a point to say, ‘Don’t talk, invoke your rights?’” Kunzweiler asked.

“No, I would want them to talk to me,” Campbell said.

Cpl. Wyett Poth testified on Thursday he told Shelby not to say a word to anyone because he “knew there would be a group of people who wouldn’t like what happened simply because of the color of (Shelby’s) skin.”

Walker allowed Shelby to view video of the shooting before her police interview.

Asked during cross-examination whether Campbell would have showed the video first, Campbell said no. He would have wanted to know she remembered, saw and observed.

TCSO corporal explains Shelby’s drug recognition training
Shelby’s belief that Crutcher was under the influence of PCP when she shot and killed him has been a key defense in her case. Her attorneys have frequently touted her “drug recognition expert” training.

Marshall Eldridge, a TCSO corporal who has taught the drug recognition courses, testified Friday on Shelby’s training.

An evaluation to determine whether a person was under the influence of drugs, and what kind, would take about an hour, Eldridge said. It’s a 12-step process, with the last step being the officer’s opinion.

The evaluation is usually used when officers encounter people driving under the influence, Eldridge said. Officers don’t do roadside evaluations, but take people to a “controlled environment.” The process is designed around the standard field-sobriety test, he said.

Instructor recalls Shelby’s outburst
Shelby began “screaming and yelling and teared up” when she did poorly on a pop quiz, Eldridge testified.

Eldridge, who was Shelby’s instructor for her drug recognition course, said Shelby got a “zero” on the quiz because her answers were wrong. The quiz had no affect on her grade in the course.

She left the class, made up of 24 officers, and didn’t come back until someone went after her to talk her down, Eldridge said.

Eldridge testified he had never seen that sort of behavior and haven’t seen it since. However, he said, Shelby came back and apologized and it didn’t affect his opinion of her as an officer.

Video expert didn’t know whether Crutcher reached into car
Questions about whether Crutcher was reaching through his car’s driver’s side window still lingered after a video analysis expert testified Friday.

Alan Salmon, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation video analysis called by the defense, said he enhanced and did frame-by-frame analysis of video of Crutcher’s encounter with Shelby.

A TPD detective spent three hours in Salmon’s office six days after Crutcher was shot but never asked him whether he believed Crutcher was reaching through his window, Salmon testified.

The question of whether Crutcher’s window was rolled up or down has remained controversial since the shooting occurred last September. Police say the window was partially down, and Crutcher was reaching into his car when Shelby shot him. Attorneys for the Crutcher family held a press conference last September claiming the window was rolled up.

Jurors so far have seen images showing all four windows at least partially down.

When asked during cross-examination whether he believed Crutcher was reaching through the window into his car, Salmon said he would have to analyze the video further.

Witnesses testify they saw Crutcher by road

Crutcher was acting “vey unusual and in an unnatural” way shortly before his encounter with Shelby in the middle of a north Tulsa road last September, according to testimony.

Three witnesses took the stand Friday and testified they saw Crutcher near his car, standing on a corner and walking along the road.

Jeffrey Wilson, who was driving along the road Crutcher’s SUV was stopped on, said he saw Crutcher walking along the street’s centerline, moving in an “un-human like” way.

Wilson testified although his wife wanted to help Crutcher because she was worried he needed medical attention, Wilson thought stopping would be dangerous.

“I didn’t want to stop,” Wilson said. “I was afraid.”

Wilson, whose son-in-law is a Tulsa police officer, spoke with Walker the next day after he saw Crutcher on the news.

During cross-examination, Wood pointed out no police officers were there to witness Crutcher’s behavior.

Another witness, Janelle White, said she saw Crutcher’s car in the street that evening and tried to help him. When she asked him if he needed help, Crutcher, who was standing beside his vehicle, told her to come closer.

White said as she got closer to Crutcher, he reached into his dashboard. She feared he had a gun and began to run away, White testified. Crutcher started to run toward her and yelled, “It’s about to blow.”

An autopsy report showed PCP in Crutcher’s system.

State rests case, judge rules

After 20 witnesses over three days, prosecutors rested their case Friday morning. Shortly before defense attorneys began to present their case, District Judge Doug Drummond ruled on two motions defense attorneys filed Friday morning.

First, Drummond overruled the defense’s request to discard the case (a typical request from defense attorneys.)

“Based on the evidence I’ve heard thus far, it’s going to be a difficult decision,” Drummond said on the need for a jury’s opinion in the case.

Drummond also said he would allow the jury to hear limited information on Crutcher’s criminal record. The ruling overturns a previous order, but defense attorneys can mention only Crutcher’s history of obstruction and resisting arrest. Drummond said defense attorneys cannot go into detail about those incidents.

Prosecutors opened the door to allowing conversation about Crutcher’s character when two Tulsa Community College employees testified on Thursday, Drummond said. The state asked the employees leading questions, he said.

Talk of Shelby’s demeanor following shooting
The conversation of Shelby’s disposition during her recorded interview last year arose again Friday, first when Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray asked Walker about an emotional Shelby shown in an hour-long interview with Walker three days after the shooting.

Betty Shelby. Frontier file

In the interview, Shelby alternates between sobbing, screaming, sitting on the floor, and finally sitting still.

When Shelby was charged last September, District Attorney’s Office investigator Doug Campbell wrote in his affidavit that he believed Shelby became too “emotional” during her encounter with Crutcher, which led to her shooting him.

Walker, who has interviewed about 25 officers following a shooting, said he had never seen an officer fall on the floor crying, but he wouldn’t call it unusual.

“All individuals act differently,” Walker said.

During cross-examination, Walker said video of the encounter between Shelby and Crutcher shows an officer who’s in control of the situation.

DNA not found on car window
A Tulsa Police Department employee who tested for evidence on Crutcher’s vehicle’s driver side window testified she found no DNA.

The employee, Tiffany Dyer said the lack of DNA didn’t mean Crutcher didn’t reach through the window.

The question of whether Crutcher’s window was rolled up or down has remained controversial since the shooting occurred last September. Police say the window was partially down, and Crutcher was reaching into his car when Shelby shot him. Attorneys for the Crutcher family held a press conference last September claiming the window was rolled up.

Jurors so far have seen images showing all four windows at least partially down.

Asked whether the lack of DNA meant Crutcher didn’t reach through the window, Dyer said she couldn’t determine that.

“It would be possible to touch the window and not leave DNA,” she said.

Dyer added that because the first swab taken fell on the ground and wasn’t tested, it’s possible DNA would have been found on that swab.

Crutcher’s sister testifies
Tiffany Crutcher, Terence Crutcher’s twin sister, gave very brief testimony Friday. She described a picture of her brother in church wearing sunglasses, which he wore because he didn’t like people seeing his prosthetic eye.

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Kassie McClung

Staff writer

Contact: Kassie@readfrontier.com or 918-935-1044.
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