5 things to know about Betty Shelby, the officer charged in Terence Crutcher shooting

The Tulsa police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man last week has been charged with manslaughter as additional details of her background have been made public, including multiple alleged domestic violence incidents and an admission of past drug use.

Betty Jo Shelby, 42, is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting death of 40-year-old Terance Crutcher. According to the Tulsa Police Department, Shelby was booked into the city jail early Friday morning before being released about 30 minutes later on $50,000 bond.

Shelby’s background has come under scrutiny following the Tulsa County district attorney’s decision to charge her in the deadly shooting, which was caught on video from a fellow officer’s dashboard camera, as well as in footage shot by a police helicopter that had been circling overhead. Here are some of the details that have surfaced in the week since Crutcher’s death:

  1. NBC News reported that Shelby’s husband, Dave, also a Tulsa police officer, was in the helicopter that caught the final moments of Crutcher’s life on camera. At one point in the footage, as the chopper moved toward the scene, a man’s voice could be heard asking, “All right, Betty Jo, where you at?” A voice in the helicopter was also heard saying that Crutcher “(looked) like a bad dude” and that he “might be on something.” It was not clear if Dave Shelby was the person who made any of the statements.

  2. Betty Shelby, a native of Poteau, Oklahoma, studied biology at Northeastern State University before signing up for the Oklahoma Air National Guard in 1999, according to NBC News. She left the service the following year after spraining her knee during basic training. Shelby is a nine-year veteran of law enforcement, having served from 2007 to 2011 as a Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy before becoming a Tulsa city police officer in December 2011.

  3. Shelby has twice had restraining orders filed against her. Her job application for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, which has been made public, details an incident in 1993 in which she and her then-boyfriend damaged each other’s vehicles during a bad breakup. According to NBC News, the temporary restraining orders they filed against each other were subsequently dismissed. In 2002, her ex-husband’s new wife sought a protective order after accusing Shelby of making harassing phone calls. Shelby wrote on her application that the order had been denied after the judge “saw that (she) was not guilty of the accusations,” the news station reported.

  4. Shelby, who has used her status as a drug recognition expert in claiming that she believed Crutcher was under the influence at the time of the shooting, admitted on her application for the Sheriff’s Office that she had previously used marijuana twice, during social gatherings at the age of 18.

  5. Shelby has had no previous disciplinary action against her in her law enforcement career and has received multiple letters of commendation. The Tulsa Police Department also posted praise to its Facebook page in August after Shelby helped burglary victims recover their stolen property. 

A great surprise in the course of a work day. The Joneses were victims of a burglary and Officer Shelby  had responded...

Posted by Tulsa Police Department on Sunday, August 28, 2016

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