National News

Charge announcement left officer feeling 'disrespected'

Posted May 12

— An Oklahoma police sergeant testified Friday that he felt "disrespected" by the way a prosecutor announced a manslaughter charge against a white Oklahoma officer who killed an unarmed black man.

Sgt. Dave Walker took the stand during the trial of Tulsa Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who fatally shot 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Shelby said she shot Crutcher because he wasn't obeying commands and kept reaching for his pockets after his SUV stalled in a street, but prosecutors say she overreacted.

The Tulsa World reported that Walker, who started his testimony Thursday, detailed his role in the investigation of the shooting, which was captured on police helicopter and dashcam video. Walker also testified that he was shocked when he learned about the charge from a reporter.

"I was taken aback by the lack of protocol and lack of respect," he said, adding that he felt "angry" and "disrespected" because of the work he had done to investigate the shooting.

Another police supervisor testified that he told Shelby not to talk about the incident because he knew it would be racially explosive.

Prosecutors rested their case following Friday's testimony.

Radio chatter that captured moments before the shooting included an officer saying Crutcher looked "like a bad dude" who "could be on something." The statements outraged Crutcher's family, who said the statements indicated a racial bias.

Shelby told police investigators that she believed Crutcher was high on PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic that can make users combative and unpredictable. An autopsy found the drug in his system, and police said they recovered a vial of it in Crutcher's SUV.

Shelby's attorneys have said Crutcher refused Shelby's commands to lie down during a two-minute period before police cameras recorded the shooting.

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