TULSA, Okla., Sept. 22 (UPI) — A police officer responsible for shooting an unarmed motorist to death in Oklahoma last week is now facing criminal charges.
Prosecutors filed first-degree manslaughter charges against Tulsa officer Betty Shelby for the death of Terence Crutcher on Friday.
Shelby and another officer, Tyler Turnbough, encountered Crutcher as he was walking near his stalled vehicle, while they were on their way to another call.
The officers claimed Crutcher, 40, behaved erratically and did not comply with their commands. Crutcher was first hit by Turnbough’s stun gun and subsequently by one shot from Shelby.
After days of investigation, Tulsa prosecutors decided Thursday to file the manslaughter charge against Shelby.
“Officer Shelby reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation,” prosecutors said in a court affidavit.
Authorities said Crutcher was unarmed at the time of his death and no weapons were found in his car nearby.
Shelby told investigators that she feared for her safety because Crutcher was not obeying her commands. Prosecutors say she overreacted in a highly emotional scenario.
Shelby’s attorney said she would turn herself in to authorities. She faces a minimum four-year sentence, if convicted on the manslaughter count.