Jury in Shelby manslaughter trial will hear audio from police helicopter

TULSA — When Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher in September of 2016, a police helicopter was hovering overhead.

The conversation included comments about Crutcher’s appearance and demeanor.

“Looks like a bad dude,” says Ofcr. Michael Richert in audio released by the Tulsa Police Department, and that comment was the focus of arguments during a pre-trial hearing Wednesday in Tulsa District Court.

Defense attorneys wanted the audio excluded, but Judge Doug Drummond ruled that the jury can hear it, and the officers can take the stand to explain the comments.

Shelby and defense attorneys were recently admonished by Judge Drummond after she appeared on the CBS program “60 Minutes” to claim she never meant to kill Crutcher, and that the shooting had nothing to do with race.

Prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree manslaughter against Shelby, alleging that the shooting was not justified by the circumstances.

The case is scheduled for two additional hearing to discuss evidentiary issues before trial.

The trial is set for May 8th.

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