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Protests expected to continue, parties speak out about Betty Shelby Trial

TULSA, OK (KSWO)- Protesters dispersed around 4 this morning after Tulsa officer Betty Shelby was acquitted in her manslaughter trial.

"No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!"

Demonstrators blocked roadways as they walked from the courthouse where Shelby was found not guilty all the way to a hotel they believed she was staying in.

Shelby could be seen running out of the courthouse after the verdict as protests began. Shelby had been charged with manslaughter in the September shooting death of Terence Crutcher. Some of the protesters said the verdict sent a strong message.

"I have five sons... what do we teach our kids, man? This is happening all across the nation, all across the state. Yes, we have great officers out there, but with anything you have good and bad. We got corrupt... it's corrupt, man."

An Oklahoma police chief says his department will continue to uphold the public's right to protest following demonstrations after a Tulsa jury acquitted a white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Thursday during a news conference that the protest was peaceful and he expects that to continue. Jordan said his officers de-escalated tensions. Police asked protesters not to block streets when some stepped into an intersection.

The trial focused on whether deadly force was warranted. Shelby testified Monday, saying quote "if you hesitate, if you delay, you die."

The Tulsa Police Union was there when the verdict came down.

"This is not a positive thing no matter how you cut it. We're glad that our member has been cleared but this is not a time for celebration,” said Jerad Lindsey with the Tulsa Police Union.

It took jurors nine hours to deliberate. Jurors asked the judge if they could explain their decision in the court, but that request was denied. The judge told them that after the trial, they are free to discuss it.

We heard from Governor Mary Fallin this morning about the verdict in the Betty Shelby case.

She released the following statement, saying:

"I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner… I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this difficult time."

Tulsa's mayor is also speaking out after Shelby's verdict.

In part of his statement, GT Bynum says:

"It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. 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. And no one has been calling for the resources to implement community policing more actively over a longer period of time than the men and women of our Tulsa Police Department."

The superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools has released a statement. Dr. Deborah Gist says teachers and parents will:

"need to navigate difficult questions and conversations in our schools today. We will need to help our children find productive ways to manage their emotions. We must also ensure that all of our children - particularly our young men of color - know that we see them, we value them, and that we are committed to lifting them up. Anyone who spends time with children can tell you that kids are always watching adults to gauge how best to understand the world. Even as we struggle with the discomfort of confronting issues around race, justice, and equity, we must set the best example possible for our kids."

Terence Crutcher's family gave a statement on the eighth floor of the court to the media.

"‘Jojo, that lady killed my daddy’ And in response to that, I told her God is still in control, and you remember that. I have four grandchildren that are home now without their daddy." said Terence Crutcher's father continued by saying that he believes Shelby got away with murder.

"All the elements of manslaughter was there. Terence's hands were up. Terence did not attack her, Terence did not charge her. Terence was not the aggressor, Betty Shelby was the aggressor," Tiffany Crutcher, Terence's sister, said. "All of the officers of the Tulsa Police Department tried to cover for her. I promise you I won't rest until we break that chain.”

The family concluded by saying Terence Crutcher was the real victim, and they feel like due process was not served.

Information provided by KTUL. 

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