Terence Crutcher Shooting: What's Next for Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby

She was charged with manslaughter and released on bond.

ByABC News
September 23, 2016, 12:46 PM

— -- Betty Shelby, a white Tulsa police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black man, turned herself into the Tulsa County Jail early this morning, and is now out on bond.

She is accused of fatally shooting 40-year-old Terence Crutcher last Friday night. Shelby was arrested at 1 a.m. CT today for first-degree manslaughter and she was released less than 30 minutes later on $50,000 bond.

First Court Date

Her first court date is scheduled for Sept. 30.

"Officer Shelby, although now charged, is presumed to be innocent under the law until a judge or jury determines otherwise," the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office said.

The Potential Sentence

If she is found guilty, first-degree manslaughter carries a prison sentence of at least four years, according to the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.

Shelby's Job on the Police Force

Shelby has not been fired from the force, the Tulsa Police Department told ABC News.

Now that she’s been charged, the department said it will afford her full due process, and after the trial, the department will complete an internal affairs review and then a determination will be made regarding her employment. She is currently on unpaid leave but was originally put on paid administrative leave until the charge was filed.

What Happened Last Friday

After Shelby came across Crutcher's SUV in the middle of a two-lane roadway while it was still running, Crutcher ignored dozens of commands Shelby gave him, according to her attorney Scott Wood. She shot him as he allegedly tried to reach his arm into the open driver's side window.

Crutcher's family attorneys maintain that the window was up, pointing to the blood spattered on it when he was shot.

According to an affidavit by an investigator with the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, Shelby reacted "unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation" with Crutcher. Shelby became "emotionally involved" to the point that she overreacted, the affidavit states, adding that she was "not able to see any weapons or bulges indicating a weapon was present."

She Was 'Very Distraught' Lawyer Says

On Tuesday, days before her arrest, Wood told ABC News that Shelby "is very, very distraught about ... the fact that she has taken a human life. She said the other day in her interview with homicide detectives, 'I was never so scared in my life as in that moment right then.'"

"But, at the same time she wants the Crutcher family to know she meant no ill will – this was not something that was done out of hate or anger," Wood added. "She stopped there that day to try and help somebody. Things didn't go the way they should have.

He continued, "Her actions were objectively reasonable, and she did what she had been trained to do. I don’t think criminal charges would be justified in this scenario."

Wood did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment today.

The Crutcher Family Response

Damario Solomon-Simmons, the attorney for Crutcher family, said it was "apparent" that Shelby had to be charged because "a crime had been committed."

"We are happy that charges were brought," Solomon-Simmons said in a press conference. "But, let me be clear. The family wants and deserves full justice, and full justice requires not just charges but a vigorous prosecution and a conviction to those who shot and killed Terence for no reason."

"We're going to break the chain of police brutality," he said, calling the charge against Shelby a "small victory."

ABC News' Clayton Sandell and Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

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