Jury acquits Tulsa cop in shooting of unarmed black man

Officer Shelby was stone-faced as the verdict was read out after more than eight hours of jury deliberations.

The jury will decide whether Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby went too far September 16 when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on a city street where his SUV had stalled.

Crutcher's family said that police had "demonized" their son and played up the PCP angle, while downplaying the fact that he was not armed.

Tulsa leaders on Thursday called for a peaceful response to a jury's decision to acquit a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, and said more must be done to fight racial divisions in Oklahoma's second-largest city.

Demonstrators blocked roadways as they walked from the courthouse where Shelby was found not guilty all the way to a hotel they believed she was staying in.

"We are prepared for anything but we are expecting exactly what we got last night - peaceful protests", Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told a news conference. "No peace. No racist police", the Associated Press reported.

According to the Tulsa World, Tiffany Crutcher said her brother was murdered and the Tulsa Police Department tried to cover it up.

The verbal exchange between officers as well as the video of the shooting itself incited outrage.

Shelby's lawyer, Scott Wood, however, claimed Crutcher refused to answer Shelby's questions about his SUV, walked towards the back of the police auto with his hands up, and then put his hands back in his pockets.

However, the footage did not show a clear view of the moment she fired the shot that killed him.

The wire service quotes Defense Attorney Shannon McMurray saying Shelby is "elated" by the ruling, adding, "She's ready to get back to her life".

Her husband Dave Shelby was piloting a police helicopter that was hovering over the scene of the shooting.

Shelby says he failed to comply with several of her commands. Authorities did not find a gun in the vehicle. Much of the trial happened during my finals week, so I made the trip to Tulsa so I could see Betty Shelby in person.

Drummond refused the request and later told jurors to return Wednesday for closing arguments. She denied race was a factor in the killing and insisted her actions were driven entirely by the behavior of the man she shot, Terence Crutcher, 40, after his auto was left blocking a road.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler commended the jury for their service, and noted that the case was a hard one.

The police video showed Mr Crutcher walking away from officers, his hands in the air, before he was shot.

The verdict drew a sharp response from the Crutcher's father. Police have not publicly discussed her future with the department. "Betty Shelby was following him with his hands up".

Earlier this week, the 43-year-old officer testified that she feared for her life when Crutcher reached into his vehicle.

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