Officer Betty Shelby's daughter: My mother 'deserves to be heard in the courtroom'
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Officer Betty Shelby is due in court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing, and her daughter spoke beforehand to address public opinion and media coverage of her mother.
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Crutcher was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and Shelby's attorneys have claimed Shelby fired the shot in self-defense.
Shelby's daughter, Amber, said she wanted to talk about her mother -- not the case.
"My mother is an incredible, supportive, loving and caring woman," she said. "She is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother with a heart of gold."
Amber Shelby said her mother became a police officer because she wanted to make a difference in Tulsa's communities.
"On Sept. 16, 2016, my mother did not go to work in intent to harm someone, the same as any other day she's worked throughout her life," she said. "Sometimes, officers get put in difficult positions that we ourselves cannot fathom."
Amanda Miller, director of civilian operations for Law Enforcement and Supporters for Media Accountability (LESMA), said she wants to make sure Shelby gets a fair trial.
"We are here today because the last two years there have been countless incidents of officers being slandered in the media," Miller said. "Facts have been altered or omitted completely, and false witness testimony has been circulated in the media, which has led to widespread outrage and caused division among communities like none I have ever seen."
Miller said Tulsa felt the division, even though the city did not riot. She blamed the division on the media.
"In part, this divide is caused by citizens who do not understand the verdicts, citizens who do not understand supreme court rulings, or who do not understand reasonable fear from simply watching a video or listening to a witness on television," Miller said.
Here's the full statement from Amber Shelby:
I am not here to discuss the case with you, as that will be happening in the courtroom. Today is my mother’s preliminary hearing. Unfortunately, she has already been tried in the court of public opinion. I am here to reveal to you the side of my mother that the public does not know. My mother is an incredible, supportive, loving and caring woman. She is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother with a heart of gold. She has always fought for the underdog and stands up for the weak. She is morally strong and a nurturer of community. She became a police officer because she wanted to make a difference in the communities. My mother loves Tulsa and the citizens as she loves her family.
On Sept. 16, 2016, my mother did not go to work in intent to harm someone, the same as any other day she’s worked throughout her life. To her, being a police officer is not about the negativity, but about all the positive changes she could implement in the community. Sometimes officers get put in difficult positions that we ourselves cannot fathom.
I am here to tell you all that my mother is a woman of character and integrity. She’s not just the image you saw plastered on the television screen for two weeks straight. She’s not a faceless [sic]. She is my mother. She is a woman who has dedicated her life to fighting for communities simply out of love for people. The media will not tell you these things. The media has made every effort to destroy her character and associate her name with that of a monster. My mother is beautiful inside and out. She deserves to be heard in the courtroom. I am here to ask you all to let her story be heard...the truth be revealed ,that the media portray her as the human being that she, is just like you and I.
Read more about the Crutcher case in our special section.