Tulsa officer booked on manslaughter charge for shooting unarmed man
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Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Officer Betty Shelby, 42, charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, is shown in this Tulsa County Jail booking photo in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., September 23, 2016. Courtesy Tulsa County Jai
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By Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton
TULSA, Okla. (Reuters) - A white Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer was booked on a first-degree manslaughter charge and released on $50,000 bond on Friday, online jail records showed, after shooting dead an unarmed black man whose car had broken down and blocked a road.
Officer Betty Shelby, 42, was charged on Thursday for killing Terence Crutcher, 40, and faces at least four years in prison if she is convicted in the case that has stoked simmering anger among those who see racial bias in U.S. policing.
Crutcher died of a penetrating gunshot wound to the chest, Oklahoma medical examiners said, adding that a toxicology report has not yet been completed.
Shelby is scheduled for an initial court appearance on Sept. 30. Her attorney told local media she is receiving death threats.
In a separate incident, Charlotte, North Carolina has seen three nights of protests, some of them violent, after the fatal shooting of a black man by police on Tuesday. Police videos have not been released in this case so as not to compromise the investigation, authorities said.
The incidents are the latest to stir passions over the police use of force against black men. It has stirred broad debate on race and justice in the United States and given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.
In two videos provided by Tulsa police on Monday, Crutcher can be seen with his hands in the air shortly before he was shot last Friday.
According to an arrest affidavit, Shelby escalated the situation and overreacted. She was responding to a separate call for a domestic disturbance when she came upon Crutcher in the road.
Shelby told investigators Crutcher did not comply with her instructions and "that she was in fear for her life and thought Crutcher was going to kill her," according to the arrest affidavit.
According to Tulsa police, Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in the vehicle. In a bid for transparency, they released the videos, one of which was taken from a police helicopter and the other from a dashboard camera in a patrol car.
"She became emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted," the affidavit said.
In Kansas City, Missouri, a police officer was being investigated for potential misconduct after a message appeared on his Facebook page praising Shelby for her “good shot,” the department said on Twitter, without identifying the officer.
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney in New York aznd Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Grant McCool and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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