Betty Shelby Takes The Stand On Day 6 Of Manslaughter Trial

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby took the stand Monday in her own defense.

Shelby testified Monday that she shot Crutcher when she saw him reach into his stalled SUV through a partially open window. She testified that her training taught her not to let suspects pull their arm back out of a vehicle because they might have a gun and have already chose to shoot at the officer.

Tulsa Police Lt. Michael Zenoni, who now works in the Homicide Unit, said he had to use force during a 1995 incident with Crutcher because he would not comply with orders. His family says the window was closed.

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According to the affidavit, Shelby asked Crutcher if the vehicle was his and if it was disabled.

The defense asked Shelby if she had ever fired her weapon in the past few years she served as a patrol officer for TPD. The decision to shoot Terence Crutcher, 40, who was acting bizarrely and failed to obey commands, stemmed from her police training, she said.

"If you hesitate and delay, then you die", Shelby reportedly told her attorney, Shannon McMurray, of Tulsa. He appeared dazed and confused but moved to the side of the road, she said.

Prosecutors have said there was no reason for Shelby to fire on a man who was walking away from her.

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Shelby's testimony largely mirrored comments she made last month on CBS' "60 Minutes", in which she denied being a racist and said she never wanted to be in the position to shoot Crutcher.

"I say with a louder, more intense voice 'stop, stop, stop, ' and he didn't", Shelby said. She denied ever firing her weapon before Crutcher's death.

Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany shook her head in the courtroom after hearing Shelby's description of her brother.

Shelby testified that she forgot and did not watch the news after the shooting.

If convicted, Shelby could face between four years and life in prison in the death of Crutcher, a father of four girls who was unarmed.

Several spectators on the sixth day of the trial wore purple and green ribbons in support of Terence Crutcher, but they had to remove them before entering the courtroom. The 12-member jury consists of three African-American jurors after an African-American alternate juror replaced an Asian juror who fell ill on Monday.

The defense is expected to call its final witness this week.

  • Megan Austin