TULSA, Okla. (UPI) — The Tulsa police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was ordered by a judge Tuesday to stand trial after deciding there is enough evidence for her to do so.
Judge Deborrah Ludi-Leitch told Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby during a pretrial hearing that police helicopter and dashcam video evidence is enough for her to stand trial for shooting Terence Crutcher during a traffic stop in September.
“I think the defense will be some type of justification for her actions,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzeiler said after the hearing. “We, obviously, made an argument against that.”
On Sept. 16, Shelby saw Crutcher’s SUV parked in the middle of a two-lane highway. After getting out of the car, Crutcher ignored most of the instructions Shelby gave him and started moving toward his car. When he appeared to be about to reach through an open window of the SUV, Shelby shot him.
Kunzweiler says she overreacted in the heat of the moment because Crutcher had his hands up, did not attack her and he does not believe she could “see any weapons or bulges indicating a weapon was present.”
Shelby’s defense lawyer says she acted properly considering Crutcher had not listened to all of her instructions, and turned out to be high on PCP during the stop — justifying her reaction when he lifted his arm and motioned toward the car.
Crutcher’s family insists the window was closed, with the family’s attorney saying video evidence shows “an unprovoked and unjustified killing of Terence Crutcher.”
Shelby’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
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