Note: This article contains graphic content.
Last September, Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher after she feared that the unarmed black man was reaching into his car to grab a weapon.
Officer Shelby came across Crutcher's vehicle stopped and running in the middle of the road with its doors open. In the minutes prior to the shooting, Shelby allegedly told the unarmed father of four to stop and lie down on the ground.
The whole incident was caught on the dash cam of the police cruiser, as well as a camera in the helicopter hovering above the scene as it unfolded.
The video shows Crutcher with his arms raised prior to being shot, but officers on scene noted that they believe he was on PCP, a powerful and dangerous drug. No weapon was found in the vehicle after it was searched.
Police confirmed that there was PCP in his system upon his death, and a vial of the drug was found in his car.
Police Chief Chuck Jordan confirmed this after the news had broken:
“I’m going to tell you right now, there was no gun on the suspect or in the suspect's vehicle. I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation watching this: We will achieve justice.”
Officer Shelby was put on administrative leave while the investigation was underway. Eventually, she was charged with first-degree manslaughter.
But now, after nine hours of deliberation, the jury has reached its verdict: Betty Joe Shelby is innocent of all charges.
The Associated Press described the scene as the verdict was read:
Shelby looked stone-faced when the verdict was read, but Crutcher's family was quickly ushered out of the courtroom sobbing and wailing.
At least four of the 12 jurors were crying as they left the courtroom and they did not look at either the family of Crutcher or Shelby. The jury comprised eight women and four men and included three African-Americans.
According to the AP, Defense Attorney Shannon McMurray said Shelby is “elated” and added that “she's ready to get back to her life.”
Not everyone is so enthused. Crutcher's father, Joseph, told reporters:
“Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder, and I don't know what was in the mind of that jury.”
According to the Tulsa World, a peaceful protest broke out around the courthouse after the verdict was read. The crowd chanted, “Hands up, don't shoot.”
Upon leaving the courthouse, Terence's twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, told the crowd and reporters:
“We have to go home and hug on his four kids, and love on them and explain to them a justice system that’s perpetuated so much injustice. I promise you I won’t rest until we break that chain.”
The protest broke up around midnight without any incidents after calls of peace from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
On the other hand, the Justice Department has apparently started a parallel investigation into possible civil rights charges, led by U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Sr., who seeks “justice” on behalf of the family, according to NPR.
Williams is one of the many attorneys asked to resign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in March.