Family Files Suit in Police Killing of Unarmed Black Man

Betty Shelby (Tulsa Police Department) Terence Crutcher (Family Photo)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) – The family of an unarmed black man fatally shot by a white Oklahoma police officer who was later acquitted of manslaughter has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the policewoman and the city of Tulsa.

The lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday on behalf of Terence Crutcher seeks at least $75,000 in damages and calls for widespread reforms and increased transparency from the police department, including better training.

Crutcher was shot Sept. 16 by Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who told investigators she was afraid he might be armed. No weapon was found on Crutcher or in his stalled SUV.

Prosecutors charged Shelby with first-degree manslaughter, saying she went too far because Crutcher wasn’t combative and had his hands up. She was acquitted on May 17.

Crutcher’s family said Shelby could have used less extreme means to subdue, including a stun gun.

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