An Oklahoma judge has agreed to expunge the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher from the record of former Tulsa Police Officer, Betty Shelby, per her request. District Judge William LaFortune ruled Wednesday (Oct. 25) that the shooting be removed, and ordered that the documents in the case be sealed.
Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter in May. She subsequently resigned from the Tulsa Police Department and was hired by the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.
Crutcher, 40, encountered police while waiting for help after his car broke down on the side of the road. Officers showed up in response to 911 calls saying that someone had abandoned a car in the “middle of the street.”
Police alleged that Crutcher — who was unarmed and had his hands raised when he was fatally shot — wasn’t “following commands” and had reached in his pockets as well as inside the vehicle. He was tasered by Officer Tyler Turnbough before Shelby opened fire. She would later claim that she thought he was under the influence of PCP.
At the time, Crutcher was returning from a community college class. The shooting was captured by a Tulsa police helicopter.
Under the judge’s ruling, a court order will be required to access files in the case, which can be destroyed after 10 years, NBC News reports.
Shelby’s defense attorney said that the expungement was for “employment application purposes.”
“Like any other citizen who is acquitted, Betty Jo Shelby was entitled to have her record sealed and expunged,” attorney Shannon McMurray said. “Betty continues to work to try and serve her community and prays for everyone’s continued healing.”
In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired earlier in the year, Shelby said Crutcher “caused his own death.”
“I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur.”
Source: Vibe Magazine