The detailed past of the Tulsa officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher is now being carefully scrutinized. Betty Shelby’s history not only includes admissions of drug use, but also two isolated incidents of domestic disputes.
Two different camera recordings captured the moment that Shelby shot 40-year-old Crutcher. After the shooting, Shelby claimed that she saw him reaching into his window to get a weapon. However, his windows appeared to be rolled up and no weapon was found in his vehicle. Shelby was placed on administrative leave and was later charged with manslaughter.
However, this is technically the first time that any disciplinary action has been taken toward the five-year veteran of the force.
In the past, Shelby has been accused of two different instances of excessive force, yet each accusation was unfounded.
Privately, Shelby was involved in two domestic-related incidents. In 1993, Shelby and her then-boyfriend damaged each other's vehicles when they were breaking up. They had temporary restraining orders filed that were subsequently dismissed.
In 2002, her ex-husband's new wife filed a protective order claiming Shelby made harassing phone calls to her. The protective order was later denied. Shelby said in her police application, "The Judge saw that I was not guilty of the accusations made against me.”
Additionally, in her application, Shelby admitted to using marijuana in two different social settings when she was 18.
Although these incidents do not prove any definitive racial bias for Shelby, her decision to shoot a man with his hands in the air caused many people to wonder how she was capable of viewing him as a threat. Crutcher was a large gentleman, but he made no violent advances and was not armed.
(Photo: Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman via AP)