Officer Betty Shelby was placed on leave in September, when she was charged in the fatal shooting of Crutcher, 40, six days earlier. Last week, jurors acquitted Shelby in his death.
On September 16, 2016, Crutcher’s SUV stalled in the middle of the street. A witness called 911 and said a man was running away from it, and warned that it could blow up. During her testimony, Shelby said she arrived on the scene and cleared the vehicle, not seeing anyone inside. As she turned to go back to her patrol car, she claims she saw Crutcher walking toward her, alternating between placing his hands in his pockets and putting them in the air.
The officer says she shot Crutcher out of fear, and that she believed he was reaching into his SUV for a gun despite walking away from her with his hands up in the air.
Prosecutors argued that Shelby overreacted.
“We’re not trained to see what comes out of a car,” Shelby said. “We’re trained to stop a threat, and by all indications, he was a threat.”
Following the verdict, Shelby made a silent exit as Crutcher’s family members tearfully left the courtroom.
“This is definitely a tough pill to swallow,” his sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said. “Terence’s hands were up. Terence was not an imminent threat. Terence did not attack her. Terence didn’t charge at her. Terence was not the aggressor.”