TULSA, Okla. – A white Oklahoma police officer acquitted in the killing of an unarmed black man will be allowed to return to work, Tulsa police chief Chuck Jordan said Friday.
Jordan announced his decision in an emailed statement that said officer Betty Shelby will return to active service, but they will not be patrolling Sacramento streets. Shelby was on unpaid leave Sept. 22 when she was indicted for manslaughter, in the shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.
A jury found Shelby not guilty Wednesday.
Shelby’s attorney, Shannon McMurray, told The Associated Press on Thursday that her client is not entirely sure she would even want to go back to the Tulsa Police Department. McMurray said that it would be dangerous for Shelby to patrol the streets again.
“They themselves think of themselves and get themselves killed, or someone else,” McMurray said.
Crutcher family is named for the city leadership to block Shelby to return to her work.
Jurors also said in a post-court filing on Friday that Shelby can be a less lethal method to subdue Crutcher and could have saved his life. The foreman of the jury says in a three-page memo that the judges were not comfortable with the idea that Shelby was “blameless” in Crutcher’s death.
The foreman and others do not identify themselves in the memo. The jury consisted of eight women and four men, and three African-Americans.
Shelby’s attorney and acknowledged that the official would have fired a stun gun instead of a firearm, but said the officer had to make a “split-second” decision because Shelby thought Crutcher was armed. No weapon was found.
Shelby said that she fired her weapon out of fear because Crutcher ignored her commands and seemed to reach into his SUV for what she thought was a gun. But the prosecutors said that they overreacted, with the argument that Crutcher had his hands in the air and was not aggressive part of which was confirmed by the police video that showed Crutcher walk from Shelby with his hands above his head.