Former Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby was sworn in as a reserve deputy for the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday, in her first public appearance since her acquittal for the 2016 shooting of Terence Crutcher.
Shelby was reinstated to a desk job with the Tulsa police force following her acquittal, but she resigned in July, claiming she preferred to be out in the field. Her new department’s sheriff, Scott Walton, was a fervent supporter of hers throughout the Crutcher shooting trial, which ended in May with a jury clearing Shelby of her first degree manslaughter charge, Tulsa World reported Thursday.
“I am honored to have been chosen to be a part of this wonderful department and to work with the citizens of Rogers County with a sheriff who is dedicated to ensuring justice for all, whether they are law enforcement or a member of our community,” Shelby said at a press conference.
Shelby shot Crutcher when she came across his car parked along the side of the highway, saying he tried to reach into his car window despite her commands not to. The man was high on PCP at the time, and his shooting ignited a firestorm across the U.S., with many claiming it was race-motivated.
Walton continued to defend Shelby against such allegations.
“When officers are so scrutinized in the use of deadly force that they draw back and wait and hesitate and overthink situations and in turn get themselves killed, we’ve taken away not only their protection, but we’ve taken away their ability to protect the people we’re sworn to protect,” he told reporters Thursday.
Shelby’s reserve deputy position is part time and unpaid, but Walton said that, depending on her responsibilities, she could get placed on full-time patrol duty.
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