A jury has found Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby not guilty in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
It took the jury — nine white people and three black people — nine hours of deliberation to conclude that Shelby was not criminally responsible for the death of the 40-year-old father of four.
According to the Tulsa World, at least five of the jurors broke down in tears as they exited the courtroom.
Shelby’s defense attorney Shannon McMurray told the Associated Press they were “elated” over the acquittal.
As for the Crutcher family, they were disappointed in the verdict accusing the Tulsa police department of attempting to cover up the crime.
Following the verdict, protestors in support of the Crutcher family descended on the courthouse shouting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” Other demonstrators expressed support for Shelby.
Mayor G.T. Bynum informed reporters that himself and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan will hold a press conference Thursday morning.
“After considering days of testimony and undergoing its own deliberation, the jury has spoken. I appreciate the jurors’ service to our community and respect their verdict,” Bynum said in a statement.
“But this verdict does not alter the course on which we are adamantly set. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers in making our community safer.
Shelby was charged with manslaughter after she killed Crutcher last September when she spotted his disabled vehicle in the middle of the roadway.
She had always maintained that she feared for her life and believed Crutcher was reaching for a weapon. Video footage of the tragic events showed Crutcher’s arms were raised moments before he was fatally shot.
“I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat. I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life, but he caused the situation to occur. So, in the end, he caused his own (death),” Shelby said in an April interview with CBS’ 60 minutes.
No weapon was found in Crutcher’s car.
Shelby potentially faced life in prison had she been convicted.