Terence Crutcher's estate files civil suit against Officer Betty Shelby, City of Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The administrator for the estate of Terence Crutcher has filed a civil suit against Officer Betty Shelby who was acquitted of manslaughter in connection with Crutcher's death.
The suit, brought by Austin Bond, administrator of the estate, and filed by Crutcher family attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, argues that Crutcher "was unjustly seized when he was unnecessarily shot and killed without probable cause."
Crutcher died Sept. 16, 2016 when Shelby encountered him while en route to another call. His SUV was stopped in the middle of the road and 911 callers reported he was acting erratic. Shelby testified that she believed he was on drugs and when he wouldn't comply with her commands, fearing he was reaching for a gun, she fired.
A jury acquitted Shelby of first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion in May and she has since returned to duty though not on patrol.
The civil suit also names the City of Tulsa, which provided training for Shelby who testified "her decision to use deadly force ... resulted solely and exclusively from the training provided" by the city," according to the filing.
Bond was named administrator of Crutcher's estate after the family went head to head with the mother of three of Crutcher's children. Frenchel Johnson claimed she was Crutcher's common law wife and should maintain control of the estate, including the opportunity to file a civil suit. A judge decided otherwise but chose to put Bond in charge instead of a member of the Crutcher family.
The Crutchers are now fighting for control of the estate. They were in court Wednesday asking a judge to remove Bond and name Crutcher's sister and mother as co-administrators.
The estate is asking for redress, actual, compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000.