Republished with permission from forcescience.org:

Police Atty. Scott Wood was absorbed in his son’s high school football game that Friday night, so he missed the two calls to his cell phone until half time. Then he listened to the voice mails that hurled him into one of the nation’s most explosive officer-involved shootings.

A female officer in Tulsa, OK, had shot and killed a male subject during an encounter about an abandoned car—a subject who was black, a subject who turned out to be unarmed, a subject who, on video, held his hands high above his head…dead from the gun of a white cop.

One call to Wood had come from a member of Tulsa PD’s Critical Incident Response Team who, Wood says, was with the officer “within 10 minutes of the shooting to make sure her needs were met” in the turmoil sure to follow.

The other was from her husband, himself a Tulsa officer assigned to helicopter patrol. His chopper by chance was flying nearby when the incident began. He’d witnessed his wife’s shooting from 300 feet in the air.

Wood is a well-known resource on legal matters for Oklahoma officers. A former cop and a certified Force Science Analyst, he has defended numerous LEOs in shootings across the last 20 years as a private attorney.

In this case, in today’s climate, he anticipated sensational media coverage and emotional public protests fueled by professional activists and outraged family survivors. But what he didn’t anticipate, once he fully understood the circumstances of the shooting, was a move he says positioned his client to be a political sacrifice.

In short order, Ofcr. Betty Shelby (above) was charged with first degree felony manslaughter, a crime that in Oklahoma carries the potential of life in prison.

Eight tense months passed before her fate was decided recently in a Tulsa district court.

Now, in an exclusive interview with Force Science News, Wood describes the imposing obstacles Shelby faced in trying to clear her name and how he and the team he assembled crafted a defense they hoped would spare her.

DELAYED INTERVIEW

In line with Force Science thinking, Wood typically resists having his clients interviewed by investigators immediately after a shooting, allowing time for sleep and the consolidation of memory. He follows that rule himself, as well.

“If your own attorney asks you a question, you expect to give an answer,” he explains, even if you’re uncertain or confused in the stress and disorientation of the moment. “What you tell your attorney becomes your memory,” accurate or not.

So it was Sunday afternoon before he sat down with 43-year-old Betty Shelby and got her detailed account of how the fatal shooting went down.

He’d represented her a couple of times previously in legal matters not involving uses of force and knew her to be a “squared away” officer.

Before joining Tulsa PD about five years earlier, she’d spent five years as a sheriff’s deputy. She was trained as an EMT and as a drug recognition expert. “She wanted to do everything,” Wood says. While the state mandates 25 hours of law enforcement training a year, he says Shelby on average accumulated 250 hours.

Calmly and confidently, Wood says, Shelby recounted step-by-step her perception of what happened during a fateful 2 minutes and 57 seconds last Sept. 16 that ended when she fired her gun on duty for the first time.

DICEY CONFRONTATION

Just after 7:30 that evening, Shelby was en route as backup to a domestic violence call when she came upon a 2003 Lincoln Navigator, stopped astraddle the centerline of a two-lane roadway not far from a busy intersection. The motor was idling but no occupants were visible. She stopped to deal with this obvious traffic hazard.

She’d just cleared the SUV’s interior when a large, 40ish black male, wearing baggy khakis and a long T-shirt (Terence Crutcher, above) walked up from down the road.

“Is this your vehicle?” Shelby asked. The man mumbled something, head down, looking at her “from under his eyebrows.” He reached his left hand into his pocket.

“Do me a favor,” Shelby said. “Keep your hand out of your pocket. Is this your car?”

From there, the contact escalated quickly. They ping-ponged back and forth, the man moving erratically around the scene, putting his hand in his pocket, suddenly raising his arms above his head, looking around nervously…and Shelby repeatedly issuing control commands that were all ignored.

From her drug training, she suspected he was on PCP; there was a telltale “chemical odor” about him, she would later explain. Considering herself heavily outmatched physically and concerned that he might have a concealed weapon, she radioed for backup: “I have a suspect not showing his hands.”

Soon a siren was heard approaching. The helicopter whump-whump-whumped overhead. “The cavalry was coming,” Wood says.

Abruptly, the suspect turned away from Shelby and with his arms high in the air started toward his vehicle. She yelled at him: “Stop! Get on the ground! Don’t go to your car!” He went anyway.

Shelby estimated she was 11 feet away when he reached the driver’s window. She had her Glock 22 out now, still yelling at him. He turned his head and looked back at her over his right shoulder—a target glance, in her interpretation. This is it, she thought. He’s going to get a gun, and I’m going to have to shoot him.

When he then reached through the window with his left hand, she said, she fired once. The round tore through the suspect’s heart. He remained standing for several seconds before he collapsed.

Later, toxicology reports would confirm that he was indeed in a condition of “acute intoxication” from PCP and another powerful hallucinogen as well. A vial of PCP was discovered in the driver’s side door pocket of his vehicle.

But no gun was found in the black man’s clothing or in his car. “I knew then what the media narrative would be,” Wood says.

SENSORY EXCLUSION

When Shelby pulled the trigger, a fellow officer was close by her, although she did not realize it at that moment. She was focused so narrowly and intensely on the suspect and the movements she considered potentially life-threatening that her brain excluded other sights and sounds, Wood says.

Outside her awareness, Ofcr. Tyler Turnbough had arrived seconds before in response to her radio call and had leaped from his squad car with his TASER in hand. He confirmed to Wood the suspect’s persistent resistance to Shelby’s commands, his target glance back “consistent with setting us up for a shot,” and his “quick movement” into the car window.

Simultaneous with Shelby shooting, Turnbough, just a step to her left and slightly back, discharged his CEW. The darts struck the suspect’s clothing but it is not known for certain whether they actually delivered an electrical impact, Wood says.

Turnbough, too, was a former Wood client—coincidentally, in another PCP case. “Several years ago, a suspect high on PCP tried to get Tyler’s gun and Tyler had to stab him in the neck with his utility knife to survive,” Wood says. Now Turnbough told him he thought the suspect Shelby killed was also on “water,” meaning PCP.

Considering the officer a witness with unshakable credibility, the attorney posed what he calls a “litmus test” for assessing the shooting. “I asked him, ‘If you’d had a gun in your hand instead of a TASER, would you have shot this guy?’ ”

“Absolutely,” Turnbough replied.

VIDEO PROBLEMS

If Shelby had been wearing a body camera, Wood is convinced the aftermath of the shooting would have evolved much differently because it would have captured the suspect’s movement from her perspective. As it was, video existed from only two sources: the dashcam in Turnbough’s unit (click on image above to view) and the camera in the helicopter high above the scene.

Neither had recorded the suspect’s stubborn resistance and furtive movements in the early moments of the encounter, and neither had the sharp clarity or proper angle to document his fast thrust into the window.

The helicopter pilot could be heard saying that the subject looked like a “bad dude” who “could be on something.” But essentially, Wood says, “the raw footage was not clear enough to dispute or confirm” what the officers saw in the critical moments.

What the tapes did show vividly—and what was played over and over on tv throughout the world once they were publicly released—was the suspect with his hands up surrender-style, walking away from Shelby toward his SUV.

The suspect’s family was shown the videos privately by the chief of Tulsa PD on Sunday. Shelby would see them for the first time on Monday when Homicide Det. Sgt. Dave Walker, a Force Science graduate, was scheduled to take her official statement on camera.

When Shelby had described the circumstances of the shooting to Wood the day before, she had been “composed and unemotional,” he says. But in the interview room, just as the video Walker was playing for her reached the shots-fired point, her demeanor suddenly changed radically.

“She became very, very emotional and even sank to her knees,” Wood recalls. She cried, “I never wanted to kill anybody,” sobbing inconsolably. Walker had to suspend the interview until she recovered.

Wood had seen other officers in tears during OIS questioning as they relived the moment of taking a human life, but he had no inkling what a profound turning point this would prove to be in this case.

He says, “I was still thinking that an objective review of all the circumstances would absolve Betty.”

FAMILIAR PATTERN

Meanwhile, a familiar pattern in high-profile shootings quickly dominated the public forum.

Based on interviews with friends and relatives, the suspect was painted by local media as a jovial “family man who frequently went to church and sang in the choir”…a “good father for his four children”…a community college student “studying music appreciation”…a “really loving, good person” who did favors for strangers at the bidding of God.

Family survivors and their lawyers held press conferences, where they emphasized that police video showed the suspect “walking with his hands up” before he was shot and claimed that his driver’s window was up during the encounter, “so he couldn’t have been reaching into his car for a weapon.” One lawyer insisted flatly, “There was no threat posed to the officer. [She was] not in danger.”

In the media’s saturation coverage, misinformation was reported as fact. One reporter stated that the suspect was shot only after he fell to the ground from “being shocked with a stun gun.”

Another claimed the helicopter pilot had referred to the uncooperative subject Shelby was trying to control as a “black dude,” instead of a “bad dude,” implying an emphasis on race over behavior.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter weighed in, and with them the blatant race card. The Twitterverse was afire with outrage; presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: “Another unarmed Black man…shot [by] police. This should be intolerable.”

The chief of police, terming the video footage “disturbing,” invited the federal DOJ to investigate, and promised that “justice will be achieved.”

In this atmosphere, “rumors and gossip that turned out to be hogwash abounded,” Wood says. He and Shelby began receiving death threats. Wood advised that she and her husband seek refuge with relatives at a “remote location” out of state.

The specter of violence hung heavy in the air.

POLITICS

Wood is a faculty member who addresses legal issues during the Force Science seminar on body cameras and other police recording devices. Six days after the shooting, he was at the Force Science Training Center in Chicago for one of those classes.

“While I’m giving my presentation,” Wood recalls, “my cell phone starts blowing up.”

In Tulsa, the county district attorney had announced that Betty Shelby had been charged with felony manslaughter in the first degree for “unlawfully and unnecessarily” shooting the suspect resisting her commands.

The criminal complaint against her said her “fear resulted in her unreasonable actions.” Potential penalty: four years to life.

“I was shocked,” Wood says. “Sgt. Walker had not yet completed the department’s own investigation. Charging her so quickly was a rush to judgment, way off the normal course. I think it was a political decision because the local officials were afraid of violence.”

To justify it, he’s convinced that the DA took note of Shelby’s emotional reaction during her official interview and conjectured that that same “melt down” frame of mind caused her to be overwhelmed by fear at the scene and to over-react in the blind heat of passion.

“Never in a million years would I have thought that anyone, especially a district attorney, would use an officer’s emotional behavior during an interview three days after a shooting as evidence of her state of mind at the time she pulled the trigger.”

Wood’s job now would be to build a case in court of reasonableness, one dispassionate block on another.

NEXT: The defense strategy for keeping Betty Shelby out of prison.

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91 Responses to Anatomy of an Officer’s Defense in a High-Profile Shooting Pt. 1

  1. Would we get someone on our side to make sure our needs are met and be sure we got a good night’s sleep before giving a statement?
    What do you think?

    • You do not have to make a statement to the police or anyone else after a shooting. It’s your choice. I’m waiting for a lawyer. I may take an ambulance ride. My insurance covers it.

      • Mine too. And I’ll say nothing at all except my name and that my lawyer is on the way.

  2. The fact alone that she was almost certain dude was high as hell, and confirmed by toxicology reports, would be enough to see that woman wasn’t just shooting the guy because she’s racist. I have no idea what happened other than this story, but it sounds justified to me, based on the little information I have.

  3. First: “Considering herself heavily outmatched physically”

    Which is exactly why all this PC affirmative actiion concerning women in police, fire fighting, and the military is getting people killed.. Are there some fat, short, old, or out of shape men in these fields? Sure…and this applies to them as well. But for the most part the average female coming in at 100lbs soaking wet should not be a cop…period. I don’t care how much training you have it all comes down to basic physics. I can’t tell you how many 5ft or shorter 100lbs or less cops I see down in in South Florida. And every time I see one I think the same thing “She is gonna get her ass kicked one day”. And these women know that…so instead of being able to take a suspect down physically they will more than likely resort to the gun. And yes…I know there are excpetions to this rule….I’m talking generally.

    Second….why engage this guy at all? He was not putting anybody in immediate danger. She knew he was on PCP(so thus is going to be very erratic). They could have easily isolated this vehicle by blocking off the road. She could have placed herself behind her vehicle for cover and waited for more backup to come. This is the militarization of our police at it’s finest…YOU WILL COMPLY and we won’t even consider any other method to make that happen except quick and violent actions.

    • IF he had, say, a rifle in the car that plan would have resulted in dead cops and maybe dead motorists. Time pressure is always the issue and this was no exception. He was acting erratically and going for the vehicle- he could have pulled out a gun or just gotten in and started driving all over behind the wheel of another weapon.

      No, they had to act before he got to whatever he was going for in there (again, including getting behind the wheel). But if one of them had been able to tackle him instead we’d never have heard about it and would all be better for it.

      Reliance on the ‘bat belt’ is a problem.

      • I’m not getting into a fight with a big dude high on pcp, and I wouldn’t ask any cop to either.

      • Horse puckey. There’s a very good reason why ordinary citizens aren’t allowed to resort to deadly force based only on speculation about what a person *might* have and what they *might* do with it.

        • ↑ This. If it’s not self defense for non-police, it’s not self defense for police. Try shooting someone for walking away from you and telling the DA that you were scared. See how far that gets you.

    • I’m not at all predisposed to coming down on the side of police, but your remedies about blocking off roads and giving him room to be erratic and likely hallucinating are an imposition of danger on the public and nearly impossible to do.

      Is she just supposed to wave the traffic around the insane guy, or stop it alltogether?

    • “the average female coming in at 100lbs soaking wet…”

      Have you been to Walmart, a fast food outlet or a college campus in the last ten years? The only average females coming in at 100lbs soaking wet today are ten year old girls. The adult land whales cruising our streets today average more like 200lbs and climbing.

    • I’m going to divine from your comments that you’ve never had to deal in the law enforcement context with someone out of his mind on PCP. I don’t care how big or small the officer is – the only way to subdue anyone under the influence of PCP is to pile bodies on him until he can’t move and then nail him with a hit of Haldol – and cops don’t have it. A “green bean” (what we called them) is incredibly strong and oblivious to any “pain compliance” technique a police officer can use – they don’t feel it. That includes Tasers, too. For whatever reason, they can shrug off things which would put anyone else down and compliant. People under the influence of PCP are extremely dangerous, whether they have a weapon or not.

      • PCP is definitely a game changer. A guy here was hit with two different tasers and just kept laughing at them; a third taser brought him down but it still took four big cops to hold him still enough to cuff him.

        As for him “walking away”, I have to ask this for perspective: if I turn from my door that is being battered in by some low-lifes in order to grab my defense rifle, am I walking away? The answer will depend on perspective and assumptions.

        Personally, I hope that had I been the officer I would have shot the closest tire, eliminating one possible danger, changing position immediately to see if the guy really was going for a weapon before firing on him.

    • “She cleared the car.” To me in cop mode this means that there is nothing standing out as obvious threat, illegal, other such as a firearm; the car is clear. So, when the man reached into the car, what in fact is he reaching for that could be a threat? Nothing. What is happening is we went from a car running on the highway, to a guy on PCP, to he is much larger than me, he is not taking commands, to call for backup, to walking past me and not taking commands, to going to his car and not taking commands. I repeat because it seems when police loose or cannot control a situation all bets are off and instead of backing away to regroup as many police do some follow the other person down the rat hole that is the situation. We see the ones that get ‘stuck’ in this scenario in the recent videos. They command until they cannot command any longer and ‘must’ react. In this case and with Castile, shoot. So, in the strict context of what happened maybe justifiable but, at what point (pre rat hole) do we say you made the wrong decision between a ‘continue the [uneeded] escalation’ or b. back off and regroup.

  4. Didn’t know her husband was in the chopper. That must have been terrifying- close but far kind of thing.

    The whole thing reminded me of the murder of Kyle Dinkheller, a Deputy in Georgia. The dashcam from that incident is shown and dissected by probably every police academy since then (and is available online, with chilling audio). Very similar situation, except in that case the suspect was allowed to go back to his vehicle and reached in to pull out an M1 Carbine. Things went very poorly from there.

    The officers, had they responded better, probably could have kept this event from becoming a deadly force situation- there were two of them, to start with. But that’s not the question for a jury, which just has to figure out of there was an objectively reasonable fear present.

    • Except for that little detail that, you know, there was NO GUN in the car this time.

      “She cleared the car”

      • Seems to me “She cleared the car” is about as reliable as me deciding from a visual survey that a bad guy isn’t armed.

  5. TTAG thank you for sharing this.
    If we realize that this isn’t black and white. Pardon the pun.
    Both the officer and the citizen are under stress. The unconscious biases can intrude. Problem is they may be about the dress of the citizen that may turn them into a perp or a tax paying citizen.
    The situations are often difficult. What emotionally draining calls was the officer on already that day? What are the expectations of the citizen? “These people are out to get me” can be playing out. Perhaps they are accurate or just a prejudice on the part of the citizen.
    Without going into every possibility could we reach into our empathy? Some of the citizens that cops pull over are real &$$holes. Race has nothing to do with it. If you have a doubt ride with me into poor white sections of rural and city settings. There really is pardon me, black trash and white trash. People who think they are entitled to everything without them lifting a finger.
    Cops can be great people with the occasional bad apple. Everyone wants to go home. Let’s respect that!
    So instead of defending our entire race or all cops or all citizens let’s do the better thing and pay attention to the details of that actual situation.

    • H, I seriously doubt your use of the word “citizen” to categorize a non-cop is anything other than innocent use of a common term. But be aware that it creeps pretty close in subjective meaning to the word “subject”. Please keep in mind that cops and non-cops are equally citizens, and using that word to differentiate the two fosters an “us versus them” view of things. That’s not good.

      • Can’t say citizen, can’t say civilian. Can’t use any single word to describe a person who isn’t a police officer.

        • @Scrote McGee – You and Merriam-Webster are mistaken. The misuse is too recent to justify adding a new sense for the word. “Civilian” differentiates non-military from military. Law enforcers are not military personnel. Kindly note the absence of screeching in this and my earlier comment.

        • Alan, Civilian has been used to differentiate citizens from LEOs since at least the mid 60s. See John Lindsey’s CCRB. 50 years, and Merriam Webster’s imprimatur, is more than enough to say that you are mistaken in this matter. It may make you uncomfortable, for some reason, but that does not change the definition. I do appreciate your courteous tone and apologize for my tendency to paint with a broad brush.

        • I once tried “regular citizen” only to be chastised by someone saying that not many citizens are sufficiently knowledgeable and educated about the affairs of the country to qualify as “regular”.

  6. “helby estimated she was 11 feet away when he reached the driver’s window. She had her Glock 22 out now, still yelling at him. He turned his head and looked back at her over his right shoulder—a target glance, in her interpretation. This is it, she thought. He’s going to get a gun, and I’m going to have to shoot him.

    When he then reached through the window with his left hand, she said, she fired once. The round tore through the suspect’s heart. He remained standing for several seconds before he collapsed.”

    Pretty hard to reach into a closed window. Will the police ever stop lying?

    http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2798584.1474315375!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/tulsashot1-0919.jpg

        • The text provided in the article does not specifically say that she stated he reached through the driver’s window.

        • It was proven at the trial the window was in fact open. I live in Tulsa and know some people close to the case. There was more information available that the judge did not allow to come out in the trial but will be brought up in the civil suit. Crutcher the day before had been brandishing a gun and threatening neighbors. It is likely that in his impaired state of mind he thought his weapon was still in the vehicle.

    • If Crutcher’s movements were consistent with reaching through an open window and Shelby could not see that it was closed, she had no obligation to assume that it wasn’t open. As I said elsewhere in this thread, the complete facts of the situation don’t matter. What does matter is the reasonableness of your actions given what you knew at the time.

      • And the act of reaching through a vehicle window does not, in my opinion, constitute either an unlawful use of force against an officer or a reasonably perceived, immediate threat. If a civilian shot somebody under those circumstances, they’d be in prison with a quickness.

  7. Why do they keep hiring women in a MAN’S job? Like the gal who got her azz kicked in Chiraq and was “afraid” to shoot the pummeling dude. That’s my takeaway. Shouldn’t have killed him because she had no business on the street(Geronimo!)…

    • You’re half right. The people who should have gotten their asses kicked by the POS are those who would have thrown her under the bus to avoid a controversy.

      Years ago, the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko wrote about an elderly black woman who shot a mugger when he tried to steal her purse. Since this was long before concealed carry was legal in Illinois, she was in serious legal jeopardy. Royko pretty much dared Chicago authorities to charge her with anything. Since I never read any more about the incident, I assume they didn’t. Do you also believe little old ladies shouldn’t walk the streets without big, tough male escorts?

      • Ah NO I’m ALL right. I scanned your goofy comment below. Be aware I know who Mike Royko WAS and don’t give a rat’s azz about his opinion-or yours. Chick was in waaaaay over her head. Pedal that SJW/PC BS somewhere else ma’am…

  8. “Never in a million years would I have thought that anyone, especially a district attorney, would use an officer’s emotional behavior during an interview three days after a shooting as evidence of her state of mind at the time she pulled the trigger.”

    He has a far higher opinion of the average district attorney than I do. Many of them have political ambitions that STRONGLY inform their decisions, especially in Democratic controlled political enclaves. Most of them are far more willing to charge the guy or gal who isn’t a cop. The family of the bad guy is going to be pushing to have anyone who shoots their relative charged, no matter what he was doing when he got shot.
    https://youtu.be/2SK6_Di_3O0

    • Right? Honestly I attribute about half of the blame for a lack of trust in the criminal justice system to unaccountable, overzealous, crusading prosecutors. Ya know how everyone hates lawyers….. and everyone hates government functionaries? They’re both, at the same time! Cleaning up POS prosecutors should be a priority to get some sanity back in the courts system.

  9. So the police can shoot you if you do not follow their commands?
    What if you are deaf?
    Or suffering from a medical condition like low blood sugar or low sodium ?
    This man posed no harm and did nothing except ignore police commands
    I am a law abiding middle aged white man so I always do what the police tell me
    If I hear them

    • Crutcher wasn’t shot for failing to obey her commands. He was shot because it appeared to Shelby that he was reaching into his van to retrieve what might have been a weapon. Based on her training and experience, Shelby believed (rightly as it turned out) that Crutcher was high on PCP. Such people are unpredictable and dangerous as hell. Had she waited to see a weapon, would she have been able to shoot him before he shot her or one of her colleagues? I have watched the dash cam video of officer Kyle Dinkheller’s murder. He was in much the same situation as Shelby and waited too long.

      • Bullshit. I agree with you in principle, but bullshit. Would any of us here have been able to get off if we shot someone who we reasonably believed was reaching for a weapon? Nope. Once again, this is yet more evidence that we live in a two tiered society, where we the plebes feel the full brunt of the law, while out betters in blue are above us. Fvck em all

  10. For that prosecutor to throw that officer under the bus that fast must have been so reassuring to the other officers in that department that the brass has their back when the heat is on.

    And people wonder why it’s so difficult to hire cops these days.

    Who in their right mind needs to put up with that kind of bullshit?

    • WTF are you talking about? Plenty of cops out there. Some departments may have temporary shortages, but lots of people apply for the big fat taxpayers paychecks, benefits and pensions.

      • Plus the ability to break the law with impunity, let’s not forget that. Oh, and hero worship and widespread respect for doing a “difficult, dangerous job”. Which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so stupid

  11. It makes me angry and sad when an unarmed person who is not attacking the police is killed. But I get just as mad when I hear people support putting things into their bodies and then expect to have not consequences when they forget to fix a tail light, or they forget to turn on their heads lights. Or they decided to stop in the middle of a street and act like there is something wrong with them, as they refuse to follow police instructions as they are trying to remove a serious road hazard. And you act like you are reaching for a gun when they say stop moving around.

    I wouldn’t care as long as you stay home and get blasted there. Anyone driving 2000 pounds of steel intoxicated is a danger to public safety.

  12. The officer didn’t kill the man because he was black, she didn’t kill him because he was dusted and she didn’t kill him because he was a big guy and she’s a less-powerful woman — he never made a move on her, so she could not have been afraid of being overpowered.

    The intoxicated idiot made the deadly “furtive movement,” which has been and always will be all the excuse a cop needs to do a whole assortment of otherwise illegal things, from a warrantless search to capping your ass.

    BTW, the movement doesn’t have to be all that furtive, and you still can get shot.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/cop-asks-for-mans-license-shoots-him-when-he-reaches-for-it/380775/

        • I’m just saying I don’t read Atlantic articles because they are not a trusted source. Like the other day (yesterday?) when TTAG reported on a Trace article about the ATF meeting with every constituency except gun owners, I noted that the “firearms industry” might include the NRA according to the Trace.

          Just to be clear, saying the Atlantic is a crap source doesn’t mean I’m defending or attacking anyone (other than the Atlantic).

  13. If it is to do any good, all defensive force must be preemptive rather than reactive. That is, you need to put the other guy down before he does you serious or fatal injury, not after. That necessarily means you must predict behavior in the near future on the basis of behavior in recent the past. Such a prediction can be wrong. Opponents of self defense are correct when they say the other guy might not harm you after all. What they don’t understand is that doesn’t matter. If you have good reason to believe you are in imminent danger of serious injury or death, you have no obligation to put yourself at additional risk by giving the other guy the benefit of the doubt. Your obligations are limited to using no more force than is reasonably necessary to save yourself and to cease once the threat is neutralized.

    I don’t agree that women shouldn’t be cops because they tend to be smaller and weaker than men. No matter how big and tough you are, there’s someone bigger and tougher. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is no midget, had to shoot Michael Brown to save himself. There are many situations that female officers are better able to handle without force than are their male colleagues. What does concern me about Betty Shelby is her statement after the shooting that she had never been so scared in her life. Controlling your fear so that you can function effectively in a dangerous situation is part of a police officer’s job. It’s the same obligation an infantry officer has to give rational orders to get his troops out of an ambush even though there is a high probability he will not live long enough to accomplish that goal. Shelby’s statement, combined with her meltdown in front of the prosecutor, makes me question whether she has sufficient emotional control to be a police officer.

      • It’s called the Supreme Court. All of these use of force incidents are dictated by the courts, not by the police. Start with Graham V Connor.

    • If it is to do any good, all defensive force must be preemptive rather than reactive.

      That’s why I always shoot school kids and old ladies in the back. Because you never know if they might have a Tommy gun in front of them, and if you wait until they turn around it’ll be too late.

      </sarc>

      • One day, you may encounter a school kid who got held back 20 times, who’s bigger than you, who’s high on PCP, and who reaches into his bag in a way that you think he’s going to pull a gun.

        On that day, your restraint will make that extremely retarded comparison valid.

        • And on that day if I were to shoot a guy because he might be reaching for a gun, I would go to prison. As I should. As anyone should.

  14. I’ll be very interested in part 2. Can only imagine what she went through mentally up to and through the trial.

    • My give-a-shit-for-her meter is pegged at zero. Goes with the job. Cops aren’t hired by society to shoot unarmed people who make “furtive” movements. You cops want all of the up side and none of the down side of your jobs. Danger is inherent with the job. Deal with it. Preferably without all the “mental anguish” bullshit.

        • Ah yes, the old “why are you here then?” defense. Up your game Counselor. Lawyers. Absolute worthless vermin. At least a cop helps a little old lady across the street once in a while. Then virtue signals it of course.

      • Ah, yes. The “up” side and the “down” side for cops involved in fatal shootings. The “upside” is that you are still alive but you’ve taken the life of another human being based on your reasonable belief that you were in mortal danger. The downside? That you’ve taken the life of another human being based on your reasonable belief that you were in mortal danger – and you really weren’t.. It’s a hell of a choice to make in what’s usually a second or two at the most, isn’t it? What would YOU do?

        • Well the trouble is that it appears a civilian has to think much harder whether or not DGU than the LEO.

          What a “pacifist” judge can do is a case from our country, the CZ, where a guy was jailed hard for DGU. Yes, he was quite drunk at the time, but he only shot his Glock when the perp was sitting on him bashing his face in just like Trayvon Martin was bashing Zimmerman, with the bonus of a rottweiler dog biting the defender, and still, the DGU guy went to jail for 6 years with what appears an equivalent of 3rd degree murder conviction in USA.

        • What would I do?

          Simple, I wouldn’t take the job to begin with. First of all, you have to be an asshole to be a cop. Add in asshole co-workers. And asshole bosses. And asshole citizens. No thanks.

  15. The lesson here is:

    Don’t act like a ******, don’t ramble and rant like a madman while stomping like a angry toddler and don’t make furtive movements and you won’t get shot, it IS that simple.

    Oh and one more thing:

    Lay off the PCP/Angel Dust

  16. I’m not sure how busy the road was that Mr. COP was on. Having been in multiple similar situations myself, I would have used less lethals first. They might not work, but it’s worth a try. I wouldn’t shoot someone for reaching into a car, but I would shoot them for pulling a gun out of one in a threatening manner.

    There are plenty of females and smaller males who do resort to lethal force too quickly due to their small size and inadequate training. Cops in general have plenty of guys with thoroughly inadequate training regarding firearms and use of force.

    I’ve taken and investigated a lot of fatal crashes with DUI drivers. If Mr PCP is about to drive off in a vehicle, that’s an immediate safety hazard. My patrol car is a physical barrier and ramming tool if need be. I’m not going to let someone high as a kite drive through a school zone.

    At the end of the day, it’s a bad shoot with a lot of resources used to defend it. That’s why I endeavor to train my guys as well as possible.

    • Says she averaged 250 hours per year training. Over 6 weeks per year??? I would hope that the taxpayers are getting something adequate for that amount of time in class.

      • What! Then the next question I have is what the heck are they doing during their training time? I’m sure a lot is spent on legislative updates and other bureaucratic crap. We do force on force multiple times a year, fight each other in padded suits, and practice physical methods of arrest. Our guys are adequately trained if they put in the effort on their end.

  17. I live in Tulsa, and this was topic of conversation daily for months. My personal take is that Shelby being a woman was more fearful of a physical confrontation than a male would be, but it is politically incorrect to state that so it was not made an issue. Crutcher had served time for drug offenses and it did come out that the day before he was brandishing a gun and threatening others, though this information was not allowed in the trial. But it is likely that when he reached into his open window he might have thought his weapon was there. Most here agree that Crutcher should not have been shot, but the DA bowed to political pressure and over charged Shelby and that is why she was acquitted. But in the end if Crutcher had just followed commands, right or wrong he would have lived to have his day in court. Cops are human, and they feel fear like anyone else, so even if I am in the right and a armed police officer whom I have no idea what their mental state is gives me a command I will comply, live and you will get your say in court.

  18. Again I ask, with a mixture of bewilderment and awe:
    Why would any sane person be a police officer in the current political/social environment?
    It has always been true that one has to be slightly crazy to be a cop, but these days?
    You have to be NUTS to be a cop!

  19. I don’t know about Oklahoma, but here in SoCal, PCP is not a drug of choice. Police use that as an excuse for aggressive behaviour. Yes, certain drugs can put people into a state of a supercharged fight or flight mode, just as a huge release of adrenaline can allow a mother to lift a huge weight off her baby(probabley hurting herself).
    Someone who is severly retarded or has a bad Down Syndrome can also do this, but police are not shooting them.
    When PCP was popular is some areas here, I remember seeing them “high stepping” when walking, and if you are close enough to see thier eyes, they have a dead look to them – a ten mile stare. If excited, they got a roll in thier eyes, like a scared horse.
    Of course, not all of them had “super strength”, some heavy users took 4 or 5 days to come down and were put in general population in the jail, so, if they were that dangerous, they would be put in a “rubber room”.

  20. Incidentally, I’m familiar with this sort of person… He was coming off a meth binge, as well as just a shit ton of Pcp. Also black, also enormous. When he took a swing at me (which I blocked), he got dog piled by about 20 people. I shit you not, for a few moments he was managing to periodically toss people against the nearby walls. Not little women either. He managed to eat a chunk out of my leg due to the manner in which I was forced to cuff him due to how many bodies were involved. Whatever, hazards of the job. Now, I am not a little man, nor am I some Billy bad ass martial arts superhero. That being said, I’ve never lost an on the job fight. Still, had I not had all those others with me to help in taking him down, it would not have been good. Frankly, he would have beaten the shit out of me, and I would *definitely* had to shoot or stab him to save my life. I’m sure of it. I make no judgements about the case presented in the article, but can only state what I personally know from experience. That shit was off the rails. If you haven’t done it, you really have no idea.

    • Hazard of the job, indeed. The important point here is that you did not need to shoot the guy, which is really just a minimally reasonable expectation from society at large.

      • Look, I actually agree – don’t take on a risky profession if you aren’t willing to take on risk. The standard should be higher for all government employees – wait until you are *certain*. This is an extension of how I was taught to engage in combat – positive ID. Know, do not just think, but know the threat; who, what, where, and why. I don’t believe it’s appropriate to base life and decisions on too many assumptions or fear. Still, my point is that there are some real psychos out there, and sometimes you really do just know. Whether or not that applies to this case is… Unclear. Honestly though, I’ve always been happy to throw down before it comes to the gun. It’s more interesting that way….

  21. For the millionth time, can we stop with this “drug recognition expert” crap? She took a few seminars at one time (failed one miserably where she cried and ran out of the room).

    • That Fattster had/has no business wearing a uniform. LEO’s have got to institute some minimal level of physical fitness.

  22. This thread brought out the trolls.

    I don’t think it was a bad shoot, I don’t think she should have been charged, and the evidence presented at trial led a jury of her peers to find her not guilty.

    Everybody else here knows less and wasn’t there.

  23. where’s all the feminist protesting her unfair treatment when so many male officers have been acquitted?????
    oh yeah, forgot, feminists are too stupid to get involved in real cases.

  24. That incident was a textbook version of complete incompetence on officers part, thus resulting in the only option was to shoot.

  25. I think its a bad shoot. To me it looks like officer #2 fired his Taser first and she had a sympathetic responce while her finger was on the trigger resulting in a ND. I think the criminal complaint was appropriate. JHMO.

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