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Tulsa leaders plead for calm after cop acquitted in man's death

19 May 2017

A white policewoman who shot an unarmed black man in 2016 was acquitted by a jury in the USA state of Oklahoma on Wednesday, 17 May.

The twelve jurors, nine white people and three black people, declared that Officer Betty Shelby was not guilty of first degree manslaughter charges in shooting Terence Crutcher, reports CNN.

Earlier this week, the 43-year-old officer testified that she feared for her life when Crutcher reached into his vehicle.

"Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder", he said.

Prosecutors said Shelby overreacted and added that 40-year-old Crutcher was unarmed.

She has also claimed that he appeared to be high, with a vial of PCP found in his vehicle and the drug found in his system during an autopsy. Police found a vial of PCP in the SUV's door, but no weapons were found. Crutcher was tasered by another officer as Shelby fired at him.

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"If a reasonable police officer in that situation would not have perceived such a threat, then the shooting was not legally justified", explained Stinson.

But Bynum wasnt specific enough with details of how he would heal Tulsas racial wounds, and words will ring hollow without measurable change, Crutchers family and supporters said.

She angrily accused Tulsa police of participating in a cover-up to protect Shelby.

She's been on unpaid leave since she was charged September 22.

Crutcher's sister, Tiffany Crutcher, told reporters the verdict was a "tough pill" to swallow. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner...

Eventually, after local pastors addressed the crowd, the protesters left the area, but the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma is now on edge as once again a cop gets away with shooting an unarmed Black man.

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Crutcher lay on the ground for two minutes before the police checked him out.

Bynum, along with Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan, addressed the media about 12 hours after the verdict was delivered in the Officer Betty Shelby manslaughter trial.

Shortly before he died, Mr. Crutcher stopped his the middle of a North Tulsa street and got out, behaving erratically and prompting 911 calls from other motorists.

They asked Shelby why she didn't use a Taser instead of a gun. According to dashcam and arial footage from a helicopter hovering above, Crutcher was seen with his hands in the air before Shelby shot Crutcher, a father of four, in the lung. She also criticized police because they didn't immediately provide aid to her brother after he was shot. "We've had to stop".

But we heard others say Shelby was found not guilty because she's a cop and thinks she might be above the law.

In video footage from a dashboard camera, Crutcher is seen with his hands up, leaning against his vehicle.

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Scores of people demonstrated without major incident in Tulsa on Wednesday night after the verdict was announced.