After her acquittal two months ago in the shooting death of unarmed Black father Terence Crutcher, White Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby is resigning from the force, reports NBC News. The resignation will take effect on Aug. 3.
“Since being reinstated, I have found that sitting behind a desk, isolated from all my fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa, is just not for me,” Betty Shelby said in a statement Friday released by her union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93.
Shelby further stated: “I pray for healing for his [Crutcher’s] family. I will continue to pray for the unity of our community, the safety of our citizens and our police officers.”
Tulsa police officials said they have not received word of the resignation. Shelby had been working in an administrative role since May 19, two days after the manslaughter acquittal that sent shockwaves throughout communities of color, reports CBS News.
The September 16, 2016 fatal shooting highlighted a deep-rooted problem with policing, with officers viewing noncompliance as an escalation tactic when it comes to African Americans. Shelby, 43, said that Crutcher, 40, disobeying her instructions created a fear that made her fire her gun when she responded to a report of a stalled car. Crutcher was unarmed, had his hands in the air and reportedly on the drug PCP, the report says.
“I’m feeling that his intent is to do me harm, and I keep thinking, ‘Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Don’t make this happen,’” said Shelby in a 60 Minutes interview that aired in April.
The community of Tulsa, where relations have been strained for several decades, was on edge after the fatal shooting. Tensions boiled over when Shelby was found not guilty in May. The officer’s resignation was demanded by dozens across the nation.
Now that Shelby is stepping down, Crutcher’s family continues their fight for justice. Crutcher’s relatives filed a $75,000 wrongful death lawsuit in June, seeking mandatory training for cops on how to manage suspects with mental health or substance abuse issues.
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