Tulsa Judge Says Cop’s Attorneys Can’t Bring Up Black Man’s Criminal Past


A slain black man’s past alleged drug use can’t be used during a cop’s manslaughter trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Doug Drummond ruled to keep Terence Crutcher’s past history hidden as Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby’s trial proceeds, reports Public Radio Tulsa. Shelby faces first degree manslaughter charges for her September fatal shooting of Crutcher.

Shelby’s defense attorneys cannot use Crutcher’s past history of drug use or allegations that he carried a gun, the judge said. Defense attorneys also can’t refer to allegations that Crutcher was high on drugs the night before or that he had fired a gun previously, the judge added.

The judge, however, will allow audio from the helicopter that flew over the scene of the shooting to be a part of the trial. Pilot Mike Richert said “time for a taser, I think,” and, “That looks like a bad dude” as he flew over the scene.

Shelby’s attorneys argued that Richert’s comments have no bearing on Shelby’s actions, because she couldn’t hear what he said. They also accused prosecutors of pushing a narrative on race.

Shelby fatally shot Crutcher Sept. 16, saying in a 60 Minutes interview she shot him because she found him to be a threat, not because he was black.

“I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat,” Shelby said. She expressed sorrow that she had to shoot him though.

“I have sorrow that this happened that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur,” she added.


E. Goldstein

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