Rogers County sheriff defends Betty Shelby in open letter

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TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:

  • Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton is defending Tulsa officer Betty Shelby in an open letter.
  • Shelby faces a first degree manslaughter charge for the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
  • Walton believes a possible guilty verdict could have a negative impact on law enforcement's ability to work.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton wrote an open letter Thursday addressing criticism of Tulsa police Officer Betty Shelby.

Shelby is set to go on trial soon for the 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher. The shooting garnered national attention and led to her being charged with first-degree manslaughter.

RELATED: Officer on Trial: Coverage of the Terence Crutcher Shooting

In the letter posted to Facebook, Walton expresses concern that the trial, reaction and criticism of Shelby will negatively impact law enforcement at large.

RELATED: Judge rules Terence Crutcher's past cannot be used in Betty Shelby's trial

"Law enforcement is asked daily to make split-second decisions. However, what is being done by the leaders that quickly decided to blame Shelby can have an impact on the lives of law enforcement everywhere and may require the officer to hesitate in making a decision that has no time for hesitation. That hesitation can lead to folded flags being given to grieving families."

Walton goes on to say Shelby ultimately decided to "stop up and live up" to her duties as a police officer rather then "left the danger to be faced by some random stranger."

Read the full letter here:


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