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Tulsa Police Union Files Ethics Complaint Against DA Over Charges Against Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting

May 05, 2017  | 

Officer Betty Shelby faces a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of Terence Crutcher. Her trial is expected to begin Monday. (Photo: Tulsa PD)
Officer Betty Shelby faces a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of Terence Crutcher. Her trial is expected to begin Monday. (Photo: Tulsa PD)

The Tulsa police union lodged an ethics complaint Wednesday against District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, alleging he “unfairly” charged Officer Betty Shelby without probable cause because he “rushed” to a decision before all evidence had been submitted to his office.

The ethics complaint, filed with the Oklahoma Bar Association, alleges Kunzweiler didn’t have probable cause to charge Shelby “merely based on watching a video” of her fatal encounter with Terence Crutcher. The grievance accuses Kunzweiler of failing to adhere to his own procedures.

“We believe D.A. Kunzweiler seems to have unfairly and unethically rushed to charge Officer Shelby before all of the critical evidence had been provided and reviewed, contrary to the way he normally handles all other cases, including police related shootings,” the complaint states.

Shelby's jury trial is slated to begin Monday, the Tulsa World reports.

Jerad Lindsey, board of directors chairman for the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, explained in a news conference the FOP’s goal is to avoid allowing a precedent of filing charges before police investigators finish their reports — no matter whether it is against an officer or citizen.

A central issue at dispute in the case is whether Crutcher attempted to reach with his left hand through a half-open window, prompting Shelby to shoot because she feared he was trying to grab a gun. Crutcher was found to be unarmed, and no weapons were in the SUV.

Wood has said Shelby pulled her firearm instead of her Taser because she felt Crutcher might be armed and was exhibiting signs of being under the influence of PCP.


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