Betty Jo Shelby, the white police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man on an Oklahoma highway, will now teach a course to other officers on how to “survive such incidents.”
The state-funded course titled “Surviving the Aftermath of A Critical Incident” will focus on Shelby’s experience–emotionally, legally and financially– after killing the 40-year-old father of three. While speaking with a local ABC affiliate, Shelby explained the class will examine “when a police officer is victimized by anti-police groups and tried in the court of public opinion.”
Last year, Shelby was tried and acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the 2016 shooting death of 40-year-old Crutcher. However, the jury questioned her judgment as a cop. Although she evaded jail, Shelby was placed behind a desk, forcing her to resign from the Tulsa police department. Now, she’s an officer in a neighboring town.
Shelby is scheduled to bring her course to the city where she fatally shot Crutcher and news of her appearance merited backlash. Local Oklahoma activists say the course makes police out to be the victim when Crutcher is the one who was killed.
“It’s one more indication that Betty Shelby has been rewarded while Terence Crutcher’s children are suffering still. They don’t have anyone going around the state talking about their experiences,” Marq Lewis, founder of We the People Oklahoma said to The Washington Post.
Despite detractors, Shelby in a statement defended her right to teach the course.
“I faced many challenges that I was unprepared for such as threats to my life by activists groups to loss of pay,” she said. “My class is to help others by sharing some of the skills I used to cope with the stress of my critical incident. As law enforcement, we experience many critical incidents throughout our career. These tools that I share are just a few to help them cope with the stress of the critical incidents they have had or will experience.”