Rogers County sheriff again takes aim at Tulsa police chief, DA over Betty Shelby
ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. (KTUL) -- Sheriff Scott Walton has long supported now-former Officer Betty Shelby. On Monday, the Rogers County lawman spoke out once again now that Shelby has resigned from the Tulsa Police Department.
Shelby was reinstated not long after being acquitted in May of manslaughter for the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, but she was not assigned to patrol. Last week, she announced her resignation.
In a prepared statement, Shelby said sitting behind a desk just wasn't for her.
Walton has spoken out in support of Shelby and against her prosecution on multiple occasions, both online and in the media. On Monday, he posted a three-page letter to Facebook saying Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and Police Chief Chuck Jordan dealt a huge blow to law enforcement across the country with Shelby's treatment after the Crutcher shooting.
Walton says Kunzweiler and Jordan were more interested in "accommodating the interests of political activist groups" and failed to support their own officer.
"Nothing encourages anti-police sentiment and breeds additional disrespect and distrust of our officers more, than the attitude of public administrators, whose agenda it is to sooth the irrational complaints from a few potential sympathizers," writes Walton.
Walton writes that it's inappropriate for a police chief to make administrative decisions based upon political influence and says that's exactly what happened with Shelby.
The Rogers County sheriff also writes that the DA's choice to prosecute Shelby "will 'trigger' a criminal charge complaint against" any officer who deploys deadly force, and Tulsa police officers "have come to expect some of the most aggressive and hardcore criminal prosecutions that anyone could ever imagine."
Walton writes that he believes Jordan was politically influenced as evidenced from the beginning when the chief described police video of the shooting as "very disturbing" and again when Shelby was reinstated but assigned "as far away from street patrol as humanly possible."
The sheriff says Shelby has said Jordan never reached out to her or expressed concern or compassion, calling it reprehensible.
Walton finishes his letter, saying "these collective thoughts are entirely my opinion" and that he didn't write the letter for publicity or recognition.
"I simply feel the time is present for all of us to begin questioning the decisions of local leaders, before we allow the Tulsa Oklahoma 'criminal justice network' to set the precedent on how all officer involved shootings should be handled," writes Walton.