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Attorney Says Shelby Had ‘Auditory Exclusion’ When She Shot Crutcher

Officer Betty Shelby
Tulsa County Jail
Officer Betty Shelby

The attorney for the Tulsa police officer who killed an unarmed African American man says she had “auditory exclusion” at the time of the shooting.

Attorney Scott Wood told The Tulsa World that officer Betty Shelby has no recollection of fellow officer Tyler Turnbough saying that he was ready to use his Taser on Terence Crutcher. She also did not hear the arrival of other officers’ cars or their sirens.

Corey Jones and Samantha Vincent write:

Wood described it as a phenomenon officers often experience in critical incidents that results in a temporary loss of hearing.

According to Wood, Shelby was completely focused on Crutcher.

Shelby shot and killed the 40-year-old Crutcher on Friday, September 16. Police videos show Crutcher walking slowly to his SUV with his hands raised. It is unclear whether or not Crutcher lowered a hand before Shelby shot him. The police affidavit states Crutcher reached inside the car’s window. Crutcher family attorneys dispute this claim. They say police video shows the SUV windows were rolled up when Shelby fired the shot.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed first degree manslaughter charges against Shelby on Thursday. She turned herself in early Friday morning and was released on $50,000 bond. If convicted, she could serve between four years to life in prison. 

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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