Tulsa Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby
Terence Crutcher

A killing

In White And Black

(Yesterday, Tulsa Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the deadly shooting of Terence Crutcher.)

But what if …

Betty Jo Shelby were black and Terence Crutcher were white?

What if a white Terence Crutcher, 5'9, 260 lbs, was referred to as a “big bad dude” by black police officers?

What if the husband, also a cop, of a black Betty Jo Shelby just happened to be in a helicopter above the crime scene?

What if a white Terence Crutcher put his hands up?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby said, “I was never so scared in my life as in that moment right then” in the presence of a white Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed?

What if a white Terence Crutcher had children and was going back to school and sang gospel hymns in his driveway to passersby?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby said, “If he would have communicated with me, if he would’ve just done as I asked him to do we would not be here”?

What if a white Terence Crutcher was “no angel”?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby had rallies held on her behalf by the black community in Tulsa?

What if a white Terence Crutcher bled to death on a street while black police officers first checked his pockets before calling an ambulance?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby said community reaction to her killing a white man was akin to being attacked by a lynch mob?

What if a white Terence Crutcher was coming back from junior college when his car broke down?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby answered the reason she didn’t use her taser because she thought Terence Crutcher had a gun and didn’t want to be overmatched?

What if a white Terence Crutcher was comforted by an angry Franklin Graham?

What if a black Betty Jo Shelby told 60 Minutes “Race had nothing to do with my decision making”?

What if a white Terence Crutcher was dead?

What if a black Betty Joe Shelby was told, “Miss Shelby, you are free to go”?

“It’s not about race because it’s never about race “— Charles P. Pierce, Esquire