Family of slain Oklahoma man says audio proves racial bias

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2017 4:26 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The attorney for an Oklahoma police officer accused in the shooting death of a black man says a potentially "prejudicial" audio recording should be barred from trial because it's inflammatory.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 killing of Terence Crutcher, the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2nzEbJb ) reported. Shelby has pleaded not guilty.

Officer Mark Richert and Betty Shelby's husband, Officer David Shelby, watched her interaction with Crutcher from a helicopter.

Richert, the pilot of the helicopter, is heard on the recording saying the 40-year-old man "looks like a bad dude."

Crutcher's family said the comment proves racial bias.

Attorney Shannon McMurray asked Wednesday that the judge bar the jury from hearing the audio.

"The comment 'looks like a bad dude' has been met with fury and would likely be met the same way by the jury," McMurray said.

McMurray also requested the jury be given information about Crutcher's past, including his history of drug use and state incarceration. She said Crutcher's past could "aid Shelby's recollection and interpretation of events" the day Crutcher was fatally shot.

However, prosecutors and Crutcher's family argued that such information isn't relevant to the case. They noted that Shelby didn't know Crutcher's background at the time of shooting.

Shelby is scheduled to return to court April 12. A jury trial is scheduled for May 8.

She is on administrative leave without pay.