A first-degree manslaughter case brought against a former white Tulsa police officer, Betty Jo Shelby, has been sealed after she was acquitted in the fatal shooting and killing of an unarmed black man.
It followed a petition from Shelby to have the record erased after jurors acquitted her in the 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher. He was 40.
Shelby encountered Crutcher whose SUV was parked in the middle of the street while she was on patrol.
According to her trial testimony, she shot and killed Crutcher because he appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was reaching inside his vehicle for a gun.
Crutcher’s hands were, however, in the air, videos from the patrol car dashboard as well as police helicopter showed.
District Judge William LaFortune has also ordered all documents involving Shelby’s case to be sealed and kept with the court, reports NBC News. The case documents could only be accessed via a court order. It could also be destroyed after 10 years.
“This crime does not exist for employment application purposes,” Shelby’s defense attorney, Shannon McMurray said Wednesday.
McMurray further added it was critical for Shelby “to have that smear on her name removed from public view.”
“Like any other citizen who is acquitted, Betty Jo Shelby was entitled to have her record sealed and expunged,” the attorney said. “Betty… continues to work to try and serve her community and prays for everyone’s continued healing.”
Shelby was sworn in as a reserve deputy with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office in 2017.