DA says Shelby case was difficult, believes justice was served
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says he believes justice was served after Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
Kunzweiler spoke to the media after the Crutcher family issued a statement saying they believe Crutcher was the real victim in the shooting. He spent the first part of his statement focusing on the right of Americans to a trial by jury, and emphasized what a unique and important right that is.
"The true reality is, we all know it was a difficult case. We know it impacts our community. We are moving forward. Tomorrow I'm going to get up and prosecute cases like I did the day before. Police officers are going to continue to protect our community," Kunzweiler said.
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter after shooting and killing the unarmed Terence Crutcher in September 2016. After eight days of trial, a jury spent nine hours deliberating before coming out with a "not guilty" verdict.
"This jury, at least made a decision based on what they saw, all the evidence, and they applied the law to the evidence and we have to live with that judgment," Kunzweiler said.
The District Attorney said he learned from the case that this is a community of police and God, and we need to pray to mend the fences that have been broken. Kunzweiler also acknowledged the emotions brought on by the trial.
"You know that jury worked hard on this case. You know they worked hard. You know they struggled like any person would," Kunzweiler said. "It's not surprising that there's going to be emotion attached to this. We saddled these people with an awesome responsibility, and my thanks go out to them because they suffered for all of us."
Kunzweiler says the jury was a good cross section of the community, and he believes justice was served.
Read more about the Terence Crutcher shooting death.