Tulsa, Oklahoma (CNN)After nine hours of deliberations, a jury acquitted Tulsa police Officer Betty Shelby in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man.
The killing in September was one of a number of police shootings of unarmed black men across the United States in recent years that have heightened concerns about possible police misconduct.
Shelby, who is white, said she fired out of fear when she killed Crutcher, who had his hands above his head.
Before reaching a verdict Wednesday night, the nine white and three black jurors asked the judge if they could explain their decision in court.
The judge told them they could only announce their verdict in court but said they were free to explain it publicly following the trial’s conclusion.
Shelby left without making a statement after the verdict.
Family speaks out
But members of Crutcher’s family tearfully walked out of the courtroom, with some saying the verdict was hard to accept.
“This is definitely a tough pill to swallow,” said sister Tiffany Crutcher. “Terence’s hands were up. Terence was not an imminent threat. Terence did not attack her. Terence didn’t charge at her. Terence was not the aggressor. “
Their father, Joseph Crutcher, said the verdict was unjust.
“Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder,” he said. “I have four grandchildren that are at home now, that have lost their daddy.”
Shortly after the jury’s decision, demonstrators gathered outside the courtroom in a peaceful protest.
“Bring her out,” the crowd yelled, referring to Shelby. “No justice, no peace, no racist police!”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said residents have a right to express their opinions but they should do so in a peaceful manner.
“I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case,” she said.
How the shooting took place
On September 16, 2016, Crutcher’s SUV was found stalled in the middle of the street. A witness called 911 and said a man was running away from the vehicle, warning it was going to blow up.
Shelby testified she arrived on the scene and approached the vehicle and cleared it, not seeing anyone inside.
As she turned back to her patrol car, she saw Crutcher walking toward her, she testified. He alternated between putting his hands in his pockets and putting them in the air, Shelby said.