Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Officer we all say murder Terence Crutcher, was charged with First Degree Manslaughter yesterday. Today, she surrendered herself to authorities.
She was in custody for all of 30 minutes before posting a $50,000 bond and going home. It takes longer than 30 minutes for police to run my license when they stop me. Tulsa is amazing.
Her lawyer says she fired because Crutcher was not following orders and, she believes, was reaching into his vehicle’s window. They believe this is a valid defense, because apparently not following orders warrants death, when you’re Black and look like a “bad dude.”
To many, this appears like a big step. But is it, really? In Oklahoma first degree manslaughter carriers a minimum sentence of four years in the state penitentiary. With good behavior she could do a little less than three years. Even the criminal complaint filed by the Tulsa D.A. is soft. Alleging that Shelby shot Mr. Crutcher because her “fear resulted in unreasonable action.”
This is bullshit. Not only will she have to be convicted by a jury of her peers, she’ll still have to be sentenced by a judge, in a corrupt system. I’m not holding my breath that she’ll ever see the inside of a prison cell. I’ve never been to Tulsa, but it doesn’t strike me as the bastion of equality.
We all saw Baltimore go 0-for-6 in convictions with the cops that murdered Freddie Gray. What have we seen that would make anyone think the outcome this time, in a state that’s far less progressive than Maryland, be any different?
Either way, while Better Shelby is facing 4 years in a box, Terence Crutcher will be spending all eternity in his.