TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tulsa officials have approved legal representation in a federal civil lawsuit for a former police officer acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.
Former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby was acquitted in May in the September 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
City councilors approved paying for Shelby’s representation Wednesday in the civil lawsuit Crutcher’s family filed against her and the city, the Tulsa World reported.
The lawsuit accuses Shelby of using excessive force and accuses the city of racially biased policing. It also argues that Shelby had “ample opportunity to take ballistic cover” and wait for backup, which she allegedly knew was “seconds away.”
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The lawsuit alleges that the video shows that Crutcher made no “furtive, sudden, rapid, or aggressive movements” and in no way forced Shelby to quickly act on whether to shoot him.
The lawsuit seeks $75,000 in actual damages, as well as punitive damages. It also calls for widespread reform in the Tulsa Police Department, including mandatory training for officers on managing suspects with mental health or substance abuse issues.
Shelby returned to the Tulsa Police Department in an administrative position, but resigned in July, saying she felt isolated from other officers. She now works as a reserve deputy for neighboring Rogers County.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com