Officer acquitted in fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher to resign

Betty Jo Shelby

After nearly six years with the force, Betty Jo Shelby will resign from the Tulsa Police Department. (Photo: Tulsa Police Department)

Almost a year after the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, the Tulsa police officer who fired the fatal shots announced her decision to resign from the police department on Friday.

The resignation of Officer Betty Jo Shelby will be effective Aug. 3, according to a press release published by the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police on Shelby’s behalf.

The release, which is a letter penned by Shelby, noted reasons for the decision including the officer’s lack of satisfaction in an administrative role, to which she was moved after the shooting and subsequent acquittal.

“I have found that sitting behind a desk, isolated from all of my fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa, is just not for me,” Shelby wrote. “I am proud to have had the privilege to call myself a Tulsa Police Officer. It is an honor that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Shelby, who joined the force in 2011, thanked all of those who supported her in the months following Crutcher’s shooting and called her fellow officers the finest in the nation.

“The incident with Terence Crutcher was a tragedy for everyone involved, and I am sorry he lost his life. I pray for healing for his family,” Shelby said.

The officer also noted her persistent prayers for the unity of the community and safety of the citizens and law enforcement alike.

Officials called for calm immediately after the Sept. 16, 2016, shooting, which occurred after Shelby and several other officers arrived on the scene where Crutcher had stopped his SUV in the middle of the road. Shelby has maintained that she shot Crutcher, who was later found to be under the influence of PCP, as he reached toward the inside of his vehicle following multiple requests not to do so.

Crutcher, who was black, was unarmed when he was shot by Shelby, who is white, which further fueled already taut relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Within days of the shooting, Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter, but acquitted in May by a jury of her peers. Although she was cleared of the charges, some jurors expressed concern over her position as a law enforcement officer.