This white police officer will teach you how to 'survive' after shooting an unarmed black man

Tulsa County Courthouse.
(Image credit: iStock/BOB WESTON)

The police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was acquitted on charges of manslaughter last year. She is still working as an officer in the area — and now, she's teaching others in law enforcement about how to successfully bounce back from scrutiny like she did.

On Tuesday, Betty Shelby, now a Rogers County sheriff's deputy, will teach a class called "Surviving the Aftermath of a Critical Incident," Tulsa World reports. She's reportedly taught the course at other agencies in an effort to "illustrate to law officers how an action, such as a shooting, can occur in 'microseconds' and unravel for months," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Shelby shot Crutcher in the lung after approaching his vehicle in a traffic stop, NBC News reported. She said she believed Crutcher was reaching for a weapon. A jury called the shooting "unfortunate and tragic, but justifiable," and her acquittal led to protests in Tulsa. Earlier this year, Shelby told ABC News affiliate KTUL that her classes are intended to teach officers about "The Ferguson Effect," which she described as "when a police officer is victimized by anti-police groups and tried in the court of public opinion."

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Tulsa World reports that lawmakers and members of the community were protesting her latest offering of the class. "We're saying that you need to get another teacher," Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Okla.) said. Many critics in Tulsa said they didn't necessarily mind the content of the training, just that Shelby was the one leading it. "Training for law enforcement is desperately needed, but if you do tone-deaf things like this," said Chris Moore, a reverend at a local church, "then no amount of training is possibly going to rebuild broken relationships between law enforcement and portions of our community."

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Summer Meza

Summer is news editor at, and has previously written for Newsweek and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Santa Clara University, she now lives in New York with two cats.