Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton has once again taken to social media to address the filing of manslaughter charges against former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby.
In an open letter posted to the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page on Monday, Walton accuses Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan of “dealing an incredible blow to the entire American law enforcement community.”
“The playing field for anyone wearing a badge has greatly changed due in large part to their accommodating the interests of political activist groups while failing to support the competency of their own city police officers,” Walton wrote.
Kunzweiler defended his decision to the Tulsa World on Monday, stating: “As with any case handled by this office, a charging decision is made based upon the facts and the law, and that is what we did in this case.”
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16 after she found his vehicle stopped in the middle of 36th Street North.
Crutcher, 40, was unarmed when Shelby shot him once in the upper right chest as he stood next to his SUV.
A jury acquitted her of the charge in May, and she was moved from patrol to an administrative position. She resigned from the Police Department earlier this month.
In the letter, Walton said “her decision to do so was based solely upon a continued paradigm of questionable methods used by her administration to appease the sentiments of a small contingency of the Tulsa community.”
Walton posted another letter on the sheriff’s Facebook page in early May before Shelby’s acquittal, saying law enforcement officers’ “ability to protect themselves and others” may also be on trial.
This letter also states that administrative efforts to “soothe the irrational complaints from a few sympathizers” is encouraging anti-police sentiment.