Officer who fatally shot unarmed black man teaching others how to 'survive such events'
© Tulsa Police Department

Former Tulsa, Okla., police officer Betty Jo Shelby, who captured national headlines in 2016 after she was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the death of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher, is reportedly teaching other officers how to “survive such events" in a new course.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Shelby, who is white, is teaching the course to help “when a police officer is victimized by anti-police groups and tried in the court of public opinion.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Shelby’s course is called “The Ferguson Effect,” after the city in Missouri where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in 2014. Brown’s death prompted protests across the nation for weeks.

The Tulsa Police Department reassigned Shelby to a desk job following the 2016 shooting, which later prompted her to resign.

“Sitting behind a desk,” Shelby said at the time, “is not for me.” She was later hired as a police officer in an adjacent county.

Shelby, who is scheduled to teach the course on Tuesday, was met with local protests on Monday over the controversial training.

“It’s one more indication that Betty Shelby has been rewarded while Terence Crutcher’s children are suffering still,” Marq Lewis, the founder of the government watchdog group We the People Oklahoma, told the Post. “They don’t have anyone going around the state talking about their experiences.”

Shelby said in a statement to a local ABC affiliate on Monday that the course was “not about the shooting” and defended her qualifications to teach such a course.

“I faced many challenges that I was unprepared for such as threats to my life by activists groups to loss of pay,” Shelby said in the statement. “My class is to help others by sharing some of the skills I used to cope with the stress of my critical incident. As law enforcement we experience many critical incidents throughout our career. These tools that I share are just a few to help them cope with the stress of the critical incidents they have had or will experience.”

Shelby’s course, which has been certified by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, “will describe some of the challenges in dealing with the aftermath of a critical incident such as Officer Involved Shooting. Participants will be exposed to many of the legal, financial, physical, and emotional challenges which may result from a critical incident,” according to a state website.

The course, which is free, is set to last for four hours, which includes two “Mental Health Hours.”