‘If You Hesitate And Delay, Then You Die,’ Tulsa Cop Says

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Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby adopted a matter-of-fact tone when she told a prosecutor yesterday that the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in September was his own fault because he was noncompliant with her orders, the Tulsa World reports. Shelby, 43, took the stand in her manslaughter trial and discussed calmly why she fatally shot Crutcher, 40, who was unarmed. Shelby said police training videos showed her that if suspects are allowed to reach into their vehicles, “they can pull out guns and kill you,” which is why deadly force can be warranted. “I’m told in my training that you don’t let them pull their arm back out,” Shelby said. “If you hesitate and delay, then you die,” she said.

Shelby was cross examined for more than an hour by prosecutor Kevin Gray, who emphasized his assertion that she repeatedly “got things wrong” about Crutcher’s behavior and intentions that resulted in her using what Gray has called “unreasonable” force. “Is Terence Crutcher’s death his fault?” Gray asked. “Yes,” Shelby said, adding later that “if he would have only communicated with me and complied with what I asked, none of this would have happened.”

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