White Oklahoma cop who fatally shot unarmed black man with his hands up won’t face civil rights charges

The Justice Department announced on Friday that Betty Jo Shelby, the white police officer who sparked outrage in 2016 after she fatally shot an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Okla., will not face federal civil rights charges.

According to The New York Times, the government agency said that it was unable to find sufficient evidence to prove the Shelby willfully used unreasonable force when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.

Shelby gained notoriety in September 2016 after she shot Crutcher in what she said was self-defense because she said he was reaching into his car to grab what she believed might have been a weapon.{mosads}

In footage of the ordeal, Crutcher could be seen holding his hands above his head when Shelby shot him.

However, the Justice Department said that it hasn’t found sufficient evidence to prove Shelby’s use of force against Crutcher was “objectively unreasonable,” according to the Times.

“Any allegation of law enforcement misconduct and willful deprivation of civil rights is taken seriously,” R. Trent Shores, an attorney representing the Northern District of Oklahoma, said in a statement to the Times.

“However, the evidence in this case did not support pursuing criminal prosecution. Moving forward, I hope that citizens and law enforcement will continue to work together to better our community,” Shores added. 

A lawyer for Crutcher’s family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, also released a statement on the Justice Department’s conclusion. 

“Part of the problem is the bias in our system against African-Americans, but the problem is also how the law is structured,” Solomon-Simmons told the Times.

“It is almost an impossible burden to prove a federal civil rights violation, so it sets up the scenario where you get these disappointing but not surprising results,” he added.

Shelby, who was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Crutcher, was an officer for the Tulsa Police Department at the time of the September 2016 shooting.

The police department reassigned her to a desk job following Crutcher’s death, which later prompted her to resign. 

Last year, she began teaching a course for other officers on how to “survive such events.”

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