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Tulsa Cop: My Decision To Shoot A Black Man Had ‘Nothing To Do With’ Race

REUTERS/Nick Oxford

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

The Tulsa police officer who shot an unarmed black man defended her decision to shoot him during an interview with 60 Minutes Sunday.

“Is it possible that you saw him as more dangerous because he was a large black man?” 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker asked officer Betty Shelby.

“No,” Shelby told Whitaker. “What I based everything on was his actions, his behaviors. Race had nothing to do with my decision making.” (RELATED: Tulsa Cop Who Killed Man Says She Was ‘Never So Scared In Her Life’)

Shelby fatally shot Terence Crutcher in September. By her account she drove past Crutcher on the highway and noticed he had “zombie-like” symptoms. She thought he was on PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, when she passed him.

She said Crutcher later ignored multiple commands to get on his knees on the ground, and she deemed him a threat to her safety before making the decision to shoot.

“I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat,” Shelby said. Crutcher ended up walking away from her with his hands in the air. She opened fire when he reached into the SUV.

Shelby expressed sorrow for killing Crutcher, but said she had no other choice.

“I have sorrow that this happened that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur,” she said.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed first degree manslaughter charges against Shelby in September.

“It’s very difficult,” Shelby said. “I never wanted to be in that spot. His actions dictated my actions.I never wanted to kill anyone.”

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