The white Tulsa police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man Friday claims she felt “threatened” in the moments leading up to her gunfire. Both dashcam and helicopter footage of the incident show Officer Betty Shelby firing at unarmed 40-year-old motorist Terence Crutcher while he had his hands in the air, but there are at least two minutes of the encounter that were not captured on tape. According to Shelby’s lawyer, Scott Wood, the officer claims Crutcher was unresponsive and not following her orders. Wood additionally alleged that Shelby thought Crutcher might have been under the influence of PCP, and that he kept reaching toward his pockets, indicating to her that he might be armed. (Police ultimately found no weapon in his possession or in his vehicle.) “He has his hands up and is facing the car and looks at Shelby, and his left hand goes through the car window, and that’s when she fired her shot,” Wood claimed to Tulsa World. Shelby was placed on administrative leave following the incident, and both the Oklahoma state attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice have opened investigations into the shooting.
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