By Frederick H. Lowe
Betty Shelby, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer shot to death Terence Crutcher, a motorist parked alongside the road, waiting for assistance after his SUV broke down.
Crutcher had one hand raised and another on an open window when Shelby approached. She shot him in the upper chest, killing him after claiming he wasn’t obeying her commands. She also assumed he was reaching for a gun. The deadly shooting occurred September 16, 2016.
Crutcher was unarmed, and no gun was ever found on his body or otherwise in his possession.
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter, but a jury acquitted her. A judge later expunged her record and another police department hired her so she can continue to walk around with a badge and a gun on her hip.
If this sounds like deja vu all over again. And it is.
In 2014, Timothy Loehmann, a patrolman with the Cleveland Police Department, shot to death 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who has playing with a toy gun at a park near his home.
Last week, the Bellaire, Ohio, Police Department hired Loehmann as a part-time cop after he was cleared of all charges in the deadly shooting of Rice. “He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing,” Richard Flanagan, police chief of Bellaire, told The Times Leader in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio.
The Cleveland PD, however, fired him after learning he lied on his job application.
Before joining the Cleveland Police Department, Loehmann was a patrolman for the Independence, Ohio, police department where he had been deemed unfit to be a police officer. He resigned before being fired. “Loehmann could not follow simple directions or communicate clearly,” the Independence police department reported.
After Shelby’s acquittal, all 12 jurors wrote a letter to Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan and said she should never again be a patrolman. She resigned from the department in July and joined Rogers County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy.
She is now teaching class on “surviving the aftermath” of officer-involved shootings.