Tulsa officer pleads not guilty to manslaughter in shooting death

September 30, 2016 11:44 AM EDT

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby arrives for her arraignment after she was charged with manslaughter in the death of Terence Crutcher, at Tulsa County Courthouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Rowe

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By Richard Rowe

TULSA, Okla. (Reuters) - A white police officer charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man pleaded not guilty on Friday in court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to her attorney's office.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, 42, did not testify at the hearing. She is charged with killing Terence Crutcher, 40, in one of the latest officer-involved shootings to stoke concerns about racial bias in policing in the United States.

Shelby, who is free on bond, faces at least four years in prison if convicted.

A staff member working for her attorney, Shannon McMurray, confirmed Shelby's plea and said the office had no immediate comment beyond that.

According to an arrest affidavit, Shelby overreacted when she came upon Crutcher, whose car had broken down, during the Sept. 16 encounter. Videos released by Tulsa police showed Crutcher holding his hands in the air shortly before he was shot in the chest next to his vehicle.

Police have said Crutcher was unarmed and there was no weapon in the vehicle.

(Additional reporting and writing by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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