Attorney: Chopper video likely to have big impact on Shelby jury
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
Jury selection begins Monday in the case against Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby.
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter after shooting and killing Terence Crutcher in September 2016. Crutcher was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
She pleaded not guilty to the charge. Now, Shelby's fate will essentially rest in the hands of a 12-person jury.
"What you're wanting to find are 12 people who, even based on the shooting, have not come to any final conclusions," said attorney Guy Fortney.
Fortney said that won't be such an easy thing to do in this case.
"You go into any coffee shop around Tulsa and ask if they've got an opinion about the Betty Shelby shooting, and you're going to get opinions about it because they've all seen the video," Fortney said.
Shelby shot and killed Terrance Crutcher, who was unarmed, in September 2016. The video, shot from a police helicopter, shows the moments before and after the shooting. It's been seen and shared on social media countless times and will be allowed as evidence in the trial.
"It's a central piece of evidence," Fortney said. "That kind of evidence always has an impact."
He said without the video, attorneys would have to rely on witness statements.
"And those witness statements are always subject to their own perception, and their own biases that they bring with them," Fortney said. "It allows the jury to see in real time, without a filter of a witness and make decisions about what it is or isn't that they're seeing."
Fortney said people around the nation will be watching and waiting to see what happens inside the court room.
"When you have an officer who engages in the use of lethal force, and they're subject to not only administrative proceedings by their own department, but the possibility of criminal charges being filed against them, it has a real chilling affect on officers," Fortney said.
Jury selection begins at 10 a.m. Monday.
Read more on the Terence Crutcher shooting death.