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Wrongful Death Suit Filed by Family of Terence Crutcher

The family of an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot last year by a police officer in Tulsa, Okla., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to The Atlantic, the relatives of Terence Crutcher, 40, filed the suit Thursday, which seeks damages and widespread departmental reform.

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter but was acquitted May 17. She was reinstated to her police department post shortly afterward and awarded more than $35,000 in back pay for time missed from work during the investigation.

An internal investigation is ongoing to determine whether Shelby will be allowed back on street patrol.

Dashcam footage of the September 2016 incident shows Crutcher walking away from a group of police officers with his hands over his head, but during the trial, Shelby argued that Crutcher ignored her commands to lie down and instead reached inside of his SUV. She said she shot him because she feared for her life.

Police found no evidence of a weapon in the SUV. According to a toxicology report, Crutcher had PCP in his system.

Although a juror may have cleared Shelby of all charges, Crutcher’s family maintains that she is guilty.

“Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder,” Crutcher’s father, Joseph, told reporters at the time of her acquittal. “I don’t know what was in the mind of that jury.”

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