At least 11 current or former Tulsa police officers, including the president of the Fraternal Order of Police and an officer endorsed by the state as a witness in Betty Shelby’s criminal case, have donated to an online fundraiser for the beleaguered officer.
Shelby, 42, was charged Thursday with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting death of Terence Crutcher. Crutcher, 40, was shot once in the chest following an encounter with Shelby and other officers on a stretch of road near 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue.
Police have said Crutcher disobeyed Shelby’s orders to keep his hands out of his pocket, though the only video captured from the scene was recorded after that part of the interaction. Available footage, recorded from dashboard cameras and a helicopter that flew above the scene, shows Crutcher slowly walking back to his vehicle with his hands up.
When Crutcher reached the driver’s side door, he lowered his hands and was shot by Shelby and Tased by another officer.
Shelby was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, but was transferred to unpaid leave after being charged.
Scott Wood, Shelby’s attorney, told The Frontier on Friday that his client had received “an outpouring of support” from law enforcement officers across the nation. The fundraiser for her, held on a website called Fundly, had 56 donors and had raised $3,706 of its $250,000 goal by Friday evening.
Thom Bell, a Tulsa police officer, donated $1,000 to the fundraiser and left a message for Shelby, saying “Hang in there Betty and Dave. None of us ever walks alone.”
Det. Margaret Loveall donated $100, according to the fundraiser. Loveall at times works with TPD’s homicide unit, which investigated the Crutcher shooting prior to Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. Loveall has appeared on the television show “The First 48,” which profiles the Tulsa Police Department’s Homicide Unit.
Loveall does not appear on the state’s witness list, though. The list, filed Thursday by Kunzweiler, identifies people who may be called to testify in future hearings and/or a potential trial for Shelby.
However one officer, Dean Montgomery, who donated $35 to the fundraiser, does appear on the witness list.
Kunzweiler told The Frontier in a text message late Friday that the donation “could be a relevant concern depending on how that officer testifies.”