sunny.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 10:40AM

Acquitted ex-Tulsa officer volunteers at sheriff's office

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A white former Tulsa police officer who resigned after being acquitted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man was sworn in Thursday as a reserve deputy sheriff in a neighboring county.

Wearing a firearm on her hip and dressed in a Rogers County Sheriff's Office uniform, Betty Shelby took her oath of office at the agency in the nearby city of Claremore. While Shelby's duties haven't been determined, she will serve in a volunteer capacity and won't be paid, said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Walton, who has been an ardent supporter of Shelby and a critic of the Tulsa County prosecutors who filed a manslaughter charge against her six days after the shooting, told reporters that Shelby's first order of business will be to qualify on the gun range with a firearm, just like any other reserve deputy.

"It's not a rinky-dink little deal where you just put a badge on and act like a police officer," Walton said. "We're looking at a police officer with 10 years of service. Betty comes to us as a certified police officer, a drug recognition expert; she teaches report writing."

Reserve county deputy programs across the state came under scrutiny after the 2015 shooting death of an unarmed black man by a then-73-year-old reserve deputy in Tulsa who said he meant to use a stun gun instead of his firearm. The reserve, Robert Bates, was a fishing buddy and political donor to that county's sheriff and who was found to have inadequate training. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison, and the shooting led to the resignation of the longtime sheriff.

Walton said that case led him to conduct a comprehensive review of his department's training requirements that found it to be "squeaky clean."

Shelby, 43, was acquitted of manslaughter in May in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. Shelby was on patrol Sept. 16, 2016, when she shot Crutcher as he stood with his hands up near his SUV in the middle of a Tulsa street.

She returned to the Tulsa Police Department in an administrative capacity two days after her acquittal but resigned in July, saying she felt isolated from other officers. Her resignation also brought to an end an internal investigation into her actions.

On the day Shelby was reinstated, the foreman of the jury that acquitted her said in a court filing that if Shelby had thought to use her stun gun before Crutcher reached his SUV, the decision "could have saved his life." The foreman wrote that many jurors were not comfortable with the concept of Shelby being "blameless" in Crutcher's death.

Shelby testified that she was scared because Crutcher appeared to be under the influence of drugs, didn't obey her commands and looked like he was reaching inside his vehicle. Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted, noting that videos from a patrol car dashboard and a police helicopter showed Crutcher had his hands in the air.

Shelby's swift return to the force after her acquittal roiled some black Tulsa leaders; one minister called it "a slap in the face" at a rally the following day.

Shelby read briefly from a prepared statement Thursday after a judge swore her in, saying she was honored to work with county residents and with a sheriff "who is dedicated to ensuring justice for all, whether they are law enforcement or a member of our community."

Her attorney, Shannon McMurray, said Shelby will speak to a group of about 3,500 officers at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, at the end of the month about how to be prepared if they are charged in a police shooting. McMurray said being a reserve deputy allows Shelby to "pick her hours" she works and "just give back; that's her dream," but she has yet to say how far she'll go through with deputy training.

"I don't know if she's going to go patrolling or anything, that's not in the future," McMurray said.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for the Crutcher family, said he couldn't comment until he has consulted with family members.

Crutcher's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in June against Shelby and the city of Tulsa. The suit seeks at least $75,000 in damages and calls for widespread reform in the Tulsa police department, including mandatory training for officers on managing suspects with mental health or substance abuse issues.

Walton said the feedback from other officers in the department and from the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Shelby, and that hiring her on as a full-time deputy is a possibility in the future.

"It's not a publicity stunt. It's not a get-even deal," Walton said. "It's bringing in somebody with a passion for law enforcement."

___

Murphy reported from Oklahoma City.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Venezuela: Court removes 5th opposition mayor, orders arrest
A fifth opposition mayor in Venezuela has been removed from his post and ordered under arrest in a continuing crackdown by the struggling nation's government on President Nicolas Maduro's adversaries
2:16PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Magazine: Law didn't require consent to tape Scaramucci call
Anthony Scaramucci complains that his profanity-laced phone call that preceded his ouster as White House communications director was recorded without his permission, but the magazine notes that the law doesn't require his consent.
2:09PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Acquitted ex-Tulsa officer volunteers at sheriff's office
A white former Tulsa police officer who resigned after being acquitted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man is going to work for the sheriff's office in a neighboring county
2:02PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Frustrated with Trump, McCain unveils Afghan war strategy
Sen. John McCain of Arizona is proposing a new Afghanistan strategy that calls for increasing the number of U.S. counterterrorism there and giving them a freer hand to target the Taliban, Islamic State and other terrorist groups
11:45AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Swift says DJ groped her underneath her skirt
Taylor Swift says a former radio DJ grabbed her behind underneath her skirt, not above it, during a pre-concert meet-and-greet photo session
11:40AM ( 2 hours ago )
Postal Service: More red ink, missed payments as mail slumps
The U.S. Postal Service is warning that it will likely default on up to $6.9 billion in payments for future retiree health benefits for the fifth straight year
11:37AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Trump escalates feud with Senate GOP leader over health care
President Donald Trump is tossing more barbs at the Senate Republican leader over the failure to repeal and replace the Obama health care law
10:20AM ( 4 hours ago )
Pope Francis to Belgian Catholics: Stop offering euthanasia
Pope Francis has ordered a Belgian Catholic charity to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals
9:42AM ( 4 hours ago )
Hurricane Franklin makes landfall on Mexico's coast
Hurricane Franklin has roared ashore on a thinly populated part of Mexico's central Gulf coast, and it's weakening even while pounding a flood-prone mountainous region rains and heavy winds
9:38AM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Magazine: Law didn't require consent to tape Scaramucci call
Anthony Scaramucci complains that his profanity-laced phone call that preceded his ouster as White House communications director was recorded without his permission, but the magazine notes that the law doesn't require his consent.
2:09PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Taylor Swift cordial, testy during testimony
Taylor Swift has wrapped up her testimony in a civil trial over whether a former radio DJ groped her before a 2013 concert
2:00PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Taylor Swift testifies former DJ groped her under her skirt
Taylor Swift has testified that a former radio DJ reached under her skirt and intentionally grabbed her backside during a meet-and-a-greet photo session before a 2013 concert in Denver
1:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Frustrated with Trump, McCain promotes his own Afghan plan
The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman says "America is adrift in Afghanistan" _ and he's promoting a war strategy that would expand the U.S. counterterrorism effort and provide greater support to Afghan security forces.
1:53PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Trump resumes taunts of Senate GOP leader over health care
President Donald Trump is tossing more barbs at the Senate Republican leader over the failure to repeal and replace the Obama health care law
1:53PM ( 29 minutes ago )