A Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer who shot an unarmed black man last year was acquitted by a jury Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter, the Associated Press reports.
Betty Shelby shot Terence Crutcher, 40, on Sept. 16. She said she fired her weapon out of fear because he was not cooperating with her demands to lie on the ground, and because he appeared to reach inside his SUV for what she believed was a gun. Crutcher was unarmed.
The jury deliberated for more than eight hours, reaching a verdict after 10 p.m. ET. Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted, and stated that Crutcher held his hands in the air and was not aggressive, according to the AP.
One of the officers fired his Taser at him, while Shelby fired her gun after, killing the father of four. She was charged by the District Attorney’s office six days later.
The incident was caught on police helicopter video and a dashboard camera, and footage from the shooting was released later, triggering protests as the latest in a high-profile string of unarmed police shootings in recent years.
Shelby’s attorney argued Shelby believed Crutcher was under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, according to NBC News. An autopsy showed PCP in Crutcher’s system, and police said they found a vial of it in his SUV, USA Today reports.
WATCH: Tulsa Officer Charged with Manslaughter in Shooting Death Captured on Video
In footage of the shooting, an officer aboard a helicopter above can be heard saying, “He’s got his hands up there for her now. This guy is still walking and following commands.”
(It’s not clear from the released video what orders police may have given Crutcher before he was killed, or what the police overheard may have been able to hear from below.)
Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, pleaded for charges to be filed against Shelby after the death of her brother.
“The ‘big bad dude’ was my twin brother. That ‘big bad dude’ was a father,” she said.
“That ‘big bad dude’ was a son. That ‘big bad dude’ was enrolled at Tulsa Community College, just wanting to make us proud,” Tiffany said. “That ‘big bad dude’ loved God. That ‘big bad dude’ was at church singing with all of his flaws, every week. That ‘big bad dude,’ that’s who he was.”
from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/tulsa-officer-acquitted-shooting/