A white Tulsa cop, who resigned after being acquitted in fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, will now teach a course that aims to prepare officers for critical incidents – like police shootings.
Talk about irony.
Betty Shelby was accused of racial profiling after she was involved in the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old African-American man, who was shot dead when his car broke down on the side of the road. He had his hands up in the air.
However, the officer denied the allegations and claimed she had gone “temporarily deaf” during the incident.
She was found not guilty by the jury.
Shortly after the verdict, which sparked a wave of protests, Shelby swore in as a reserve deputy for the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.
Now, almost two years after Crutcher’s death, the former police officer is set to teach a course to law enforcement officials on “Surviving the Aftermath of a Critical Incident” – or as some might call it, “How to get away with murder.”
According to the synopsis on state government website, Shelby will educate the class about “many of the legal, financial, physical, and emotional challenges” that arise after an officer-involved shooting.
The four-hour course has been certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET).
“In this particular instance, she or somebody else (on her behalf) reached out (to us),” said Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado. “And we agreed, and we certainly welcome it.”
Unsurprisingly, the news upset a lot of people.
“We applaud TCSO for giving officers a class to address their own mental health from an obviously stressful job, but we do not believe Betty Shelby is the right person to teach that course,” Marq Lewis, leader of grassroots organization We the People Oklahoma, said in a statement.
Although Tulsa County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Justin Green said Shelby providing mental health training to officers had nothing to do with “that particular incident,” the question is, could the authorities not find anyone else to teach the course apart from a disgraced cop with a troubling past?
“By bringing Betty Shelby to Tulsa and having her speak at the Faulkner Building is a slap in the face to all African Americans,” Lewis said, as reported by KTUL. “She actually gets promoted for killing an unarmed black man. Do we want that type of person teaching our officers?”
A day before she is scheduled to train officers, a number of protesters gathered at the Tulsa County Courthouse to raise their voice against Shelby’s controversial selection.
“We’re here because we are disappointed in the very tone-deaf decision that has been made by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s department to use a polarizing figure such as Ms. Shelby to teach a class on a critical situation,” Morning Star Baptist Church pastor Rodney Goss told the crowd. “This class and her as a teacher implies that there was a false narrative that she was somehow the victim of aggression and that this aggression caused her to fight for her life, and she survived this aggression and now she is teaching it to other officers. We know that the reality is that she was the aggressor and Terence Crutcher was the victim. He was not doing anything to threaten her that she would be considered a survivor.”
It is important to mention Shelby had initially been charged with first-degree manslaughter, but spent only a little over 20 minutes in custody and was released after posting $50,000 in bail.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Leah Millis