Toxicology tests on the body of Terence Crutcher show he had PCP in his system on September 16, 2016, the day he was shot and killed by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby.Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler apparently bowed to political pressure from Black Lives Matter protestors and charged Officer Shelby before Crutcher’s toxicology screen was completed, and even before police had finished their investigation.
Shelby is charged with manslaughter in his death.
Crutcher’s SUV was parked in the middle of the road when Shelby was responding to another call, records show. Police said the officer saw the vehicle, which witnesses say had its doors open, while en route to another call.
A witness told a 911 dispatcher that when she saw Crutcher by the vehicle, he was saying his car was going to blow up, and she thought he was “smoking something.”
According to the pathologic diagnoses in the Medical Examiner’s report, Crutcher had a gunshot wound to his chest which caused numerous injuries.
The report also says Crutcher had “acute phencyclidine intoxication.” Phencyclidine is also called PCP.
The positive results could help Shelby’s defense in that she said she perceived Crutcher to be a threat to her safety.
The ME’s report also says he had preexisting health problems including obesity, including cardiomegaly and cholesterolosis.
When Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed first-degree manslaughter charges against Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby for the shooting death of Terence Crutcher less than a week after he was shot, he did so before the investigation was complete.
The lead detective on the Terence Crutcher officer-involved shooting death says he’s still working on his investigation, hours after the Tulsa County district attorney filed a first-degree manslaughter charge against Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby.If Kunzweiler wanted to “make sure the facts fit the law,” wouldn’t it make sense to wait until Homicide detective Sgt. Dave Walker actually finished his investigation?
Homicide detective Sgt. Dave Walker told 2 Works for You he expects to finish his report on Friday. He said it’s unusual for the district attorney’s office to file charges without his completed report, and that this is the first time he’s seen it happen.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said it’s not unusual for his office to file charges before law enforcement agencies complete their investigations. He pointed to the second-degree manslaughter case against former Tulsa County Sheriff’s volunteer deputy Robert Bates as an example of cases filed by his office prior to police submitting their report and recommendations. The probable cause affidavit in that case was also signed by the DA’s chief investigator.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department investigated Bates’ fatal shooting of Eric Harris in April of 2015. Bates is serving a four-year sentence after his conviction a year later.
“Sgt. Walker did an incredible job investigating [the case] and he provided me with all of the necessary information I needed to make my charging decision,” Kunzweiler said, adding that Chief Investigator Doug Campbell relied on information and recordings from Tulsa police as part of the probable cause affidavit.
Kunzweiler said he expects to receive supplemental information from police, but nothing that would alter his decision to charge.
In a press conference on Monday , Kunzweiler and other local officials vowed transparency and justice in the case, and urged the public to be patient, to remain peaceful and to allow the legal process to work.
“Many people may want to have an outcome within a hairsbreadth,” said Kunzweiler on Monday, “it’s my responsibility to make sure that the facts fit the law. And I will do that.”
Instead, Kunzweiler seems to have rushed to charge Officer Betty Shelby before the police investigation was complete, and before Terence Crutcher’s toxicology report is complete… and perhaps most importantly, before the weekend, where mass demonstrations and possible riots could have erupted.
In fact, Kunzweiler apparently made his charging decision as Black Lives Matter supporters stood in front of a Tulsa Police Department station and said that, “the only good white man is a dead white man.”
Pardon me for being cynical, but Kunzweiler’s decision to hastily file a first-degree manslaughter charge against Officer Betty Shelby seems driven more by political fears of rioting, murder, looting, and arson, than it does any concern for actual justice.