The left is convinced that the United States is a systemically racist country. As proof, they point to officer-involved shootings where suspects were killed. They argue that, in general, when a minority is killed by police officers, it’s because the officer was racist.
For example, last year, Betty Shelby, a police officer in Oklahoma, shot and killed Terence Crutcher. While on trial, she testified that the shooting was justified. Despite this, many liberals claimed it was really motivated by racism. After careful deliberation, the jurors agreed with Shelby.
According to reports, the jury involved in the case was tasked with deciding whether or not Shelby was guilty of first-degree manslaughter. In order to find her guilty, they would have to conclude several things. First, they would have to believe that a human was killed and that they were killed by the defendant, which did, in fact, happen. Crutcher died as a result of being shot by Shelby. On top of that, they’d have to conclude that the death was inflicted in the heat of passion with a dangerous weapon, both of which, are also true. She used a dangerous weapon, her gun, to kill him in the heat of the moment.
But that’s not all they’d have to conclude. In order for it to be a first-degree manslaughter conviction, it must also not have been excusable or justifiable. In this case, the jury found that the shooting was absolutely justified, sparking outrage. This is because she claims that when she shot him, she was afraid that he was about to grab a gun and use it on her. “If you hesitate, if you delay, then you die,” she argued.
The shooting occurred September 2016 shortly after Shelby responded to a call about an abandoned vehicle. When she arrived at the scene, she issued a series of commands. He ignored all of them, including requests to stop walking and show his hands. Instead, he continued reaching into his pockets and walked towards his car. Terrified for her life, she opened fire and shot him dead. By not obeying her commands, she felt compelled to shoot him. A video of the shooting can be viewed below (Warning, graphic content):
The shooting sparked nationwide outrage and Shelby was bombarded with vicious hate. They claimed she was racist and only killed Crutcher because he was black. These attacks devastated her. “My situation [is] no different than … a lynch mob coming after me,” she told reporters. She believes her critics misunderstand the situation. “I never wanted to kill anyone,” she explained, noting “I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat.” Upon being found not guilty, she released a statement praising the jurors, saying, “I commend these jurors for their courage to step into a courtroom, give up their own precious time, and dedicate themselves to upholding the rule of law.”
Shortly after the jury reached their decision, the state’s Governor, Mary Fallin (R), released a statement urging critics to remain peaceful and accept the jury’s verdict. “I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner. I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm,” she stated, adding, “our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this difficult time.”
District Attorney (DA) Steven Kunzweiler admitted this was a difficult case, but told reporters the community was moving forward. “The true reality is, we all know it was a difficult case. We know it impacts our community. We are moving forward. Tomorrow I’m going to get up and prosecute cases like I did the day before. Police officers are going to continue to protect our community,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Crutcher’s family is not happy with the verdict. His sister, Tiffany Crutcher, was one of the most vocal critics. “All the elements of manslaughter was there. Terence’s hands were up. Terence did not attack her, Terence did not charge her. Terence was not the aggressor, Betty Shelby was the aggressor,” she insisted. “All of the officers of the Tulsa Police Department tried to cover for her,” she continued, adding “I promise you I won’t rest until we break that chain.” According to her, this was a clear example of a privileged white person getting away with a racially-motivated shooting.
Despite what some may think, Shelby’s actions were completely justified. If liberals were truly as compassionate as they claim they are, they’d focus their attention on all of the innocent people being killed by criminals in drive-by shootings and robberies instead of paying so much attention to people who are killed while in the process breaking the law.