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Attorney For Crutcher's Widow Wants To See Shelby's Dash Cam Footage, If It Exists

Attorney Dan Smolen (center) announced Monday he's researching a potential lawsuit based on violations of Terence Crutcher's civil rights. Smolen is also questioning why no video is available from Officer Betty Shelby's car.
Matt Trotter
/
Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
Attorney Dan Smolen (center) announced Monday he's researching a potential lawsuit based on violations of Terence Crutcher's civil rights. Smolen is also questioning why no video is available from Officer Betty Shelby's car.

The attorney for Terence Crutcher’s widow believes there should be more video of his death at the hands of a Tulsa police officer.

According to a TPD policy manual, officers are able to trigger dash cam video recording five different ways, including by pressing a button on a microphone worn on their duty belts or elsewhere. Attorney Dan Smolen wants to know why there’s no video from Officer Betty Shelby’s car when she was there two minutes before anyone else.

"Either they're in violation of their policy because she was not equipped with one of the triggering devices, or explain why, if she was in such fear for those two minutes, she didn't trigger the recording device," Smolen said.

Smolen is representing Frenchel Renee Johnson-Crutcher in estate proceedings and a potential civil suit. Smolen said Shelby’s husband was overhead when she shot Crutcher, and he’s asking TPD for its helicopter logs.

"Did he often patrol with her aerial while she was on the ground? And the logs will establish that," Smolen said. "This could have been purely coincidental, but it seemed odd to me."

A civil suit would be based on potential violations of Crutcher's civil rights. Smolen is looking into whether Crutcher’s right to equal protection was violated, whether excessive force is a systemic issue within TPD and whether TPD offered Crutcher appropriate accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We'll get into more of the medical side of it when we get the medical records. We requested medical records from EMSA, St. John's and Tulsa Fire Department, and once we receive those, we'll release them to the public," Smolen said.

The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own civil rights investigation into the Sept. 16 shooting. Shelby has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

Smolen represented Eric Harris’ brother after Harris was fatally shot by a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in April 2015.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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