In the moments before Crutcher was shot, an officer in a police helicopter was overhead referring to Crutcher as a "big bad dude" - a description the family found particularly offensive. Another officer shocked him with a Taser at the same moment that the fatal shot was sacked. Police are trained to suspect every dicey gesture, every failure to comply, every fumbling reach for a pocket or a waistband as a potentially deadly threat.
The jury, which was composed of eight women and four men, and included four black jurors, delivered the not guilty verdict after deliberating for around nine hours on Wednesday.
Shelby, then a five-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, said she had ordered Crutcher to lie on the ground, and fired her weapon out of fear when he didn't obey and appeared to reach inside his vehicle for what she thought was a gun. Crutcher then made a decision to reach back into his vehicle for something.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office said that Crutcher had 96 nanograms per milliliter of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his bloodstream at the time of his death.
Before announcing the verdict, Judge Doug Drummond said, "This was a very hard case with lots of hard issues". She said she shot of fear September 16 when she killed Terence Crutcher, who had his hands held above his head.
Several speakers said calls by city and law enforcement leaders to "move forward" the day after Shelby was acquitted fail to address the deep sense of injustice many in their community are feeling about the outcome.
We heard from Governor Mary Fallin this morning about the verdict in the Betty Shelby case. "No justice, no peace, no racist police!".
"Terence was not the aggressor", said Tiffany Crutcher, Terence Crutcher's twin sister.
On Monday, she told the court that she feared for her life. Terence's hands were up.
If convicted, Shelby could face between four years and life in prison in the death of Crutcher, a father of four girls who was unarmed. "She didn't know about anything in his past when she murdered him". The AP reports that four of the jurors were in tears as they left the courtroom after the verdict.
Prosecutors have said Shelby overreacted because Crutcher wasn't being combative and had his hands raised high.
"After considering days of testimony and undergoing its own deliberation, the jury has spoken". But this verdict does not alter the course on which we are adamantly set. It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically..
"We are deeply disappointed that yet another police officer has eluded conviction for killing an unarmed African American", NAACP LDEF President Sherrilyn Ifill said in a statement Wednesday. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers in making our community safer.