Tulsa FOP to file ethics complaint against district attorney over Betty Shelby case

Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County District Attorney, speaks during a Tulsa Police Department news conference at the Tulsa Police Comp Stat building on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World via AP)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police is planning to file an ethics complaint against the Tulsa County district attorney over the criminal case against Officer Betty Shelby.

The Tulsa FOP called a news conference Wednesday afternoon to lodge an official complaint against DA Steve Kunzweiler for "unethical actions" in Shelby's prosecution.

Shelby, a Tulsa police officer, is facing trial for first-degree manslaughter for the September 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher. She was charged less than a week after the shooting. The defense has publicly claimed city leaders felt pressured to move fast because they feared civil unrest similar to other cities after the deaths of black citizens following police encounters.

VIDEO | Police chief says Crutcher was unarmed when shot by officer

An investigator for the DA's office said Shelby overreacted when she fired her weapon, and at the time, the DA said, "In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determined that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby is warranted," but the Tulsa FOP claims Kunzweiler filed the charge without probable cause.

Crutcher, 40, was shot by Shelby after his family says his SUV stalled in the middle of a north Tulsa street. Shelby's attorney said Crutcher wasn't following commands, wouldn't raise his arms and was reaching into the SUV's window when the officer fired.

Helicopter video, however, showed Crutcher walking with his arms raised toward his SUV moments before he was shot.

RELATED | Tulsa cop who shot Terence Crutcher charged with 1st-degree manslaughter

An autopsy later revealed Crutcher had PCP in his system at the time of his death.

RELATED | Is Tulsa ready for the attention brought on by Officer Betty Shelby's manslaughter trial?

Shelby pleaded not guilty to the charge. Her trial is scheduled to begin May 8.

Read more stories about Betty Shelby and Terence Crutcher.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off