Acquitted Tulsa cop who killed unarmed man returns to work

Betty Shelby, Dave Shelby
In this Wednesday, May 17, 2017 photo, Betty Jo Shelby leaves the courtroom with her husband, Dave Shelby, right, after the jury in her case began deliberations in Tulsa, Okla. Shelby, acquitted in the killing of an unarmed black man will be allowed to return to work, Tulsa police Chief Chuck Jordan said Friday, May 19. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A white Oklahoma police officer who was acquitted of manslaughter after fatally shooting an unarmed black man is back on the force working “a desk job,” her attorney said Tuesday.

Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby returned to work Monday, three days after the police chief decided she could come back but couldn’t work street patrol. Shelby had been on unpaid leave since being charged Sept. 22 in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher six days earlier.

Her attorney, Shannon McMurray, said Shelby’s new role is “administrative” and “organizational” in nature, and that the department is providing extra security for her. She wouldn’t elaborate or give more specific details about Shelby’s new role due to safety concerns.

McMurray said Shelby is in good spirits and is “pleased with the community’s quietness” in response to her acquittal last Wednesday.

“She’s ready to heal, and she’s wanting everyone to heal,” McMurray said Tuesday.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the courthouse plaza after the verdict was in. They marched downtown and briefly blocked a street, but the rallies were mostly peaceful. The next day, black community leaders rallied at a north Tulsa church and attorneys for the Crutcher family said they would soon file a wrongful death lawsuit.

One of the family’s attorneys, Damario Solomon-Simmons, declined to comment on Shelby’s return to work. A police spokesman didn’t reply to a message seeking comment.

Shelby had said she shot Crutcher out of fear, believing he was reaching inside his stalled SUV for a gun. There was no gun in the vehicle or on Crutcher.

Prosecutors argued that Shelby went too far because Crutcher had his hands up and wasn’t being combative. They also said Shelby could have used a less-lethal method to restrain him, such as a stun gun.