Jury finds Oklahoma cop not guilty in shooting of black man

Betty Shelby leaves the courtroom following testimony in her trial in Tulsa Okla. Shelby who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter

The jury deliberated just over 9 hours before reaching the verdict late Wednesday night.

Crutcher's family, who maintain that the shooting was unjustified, accused the police of using the drug possession to deflect attention from the fact that Crutcher was unarmed when police shot him, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted.

Following Wednesday's verdict, protesters gathered outside the courthouse, chanting, "No justice, no peace, no racist police".

Shelby said she believed her gun was an appropriate level of force.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby enters the courtroom Monday, May 15, 2017, in Tulsa, Okla., for her manslaughter trial in the shooting of Terence Crutcher.

The shooting added to a national debate about racial bias in the USA police.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray argued that even if Shelby followed her police training, which taught her that "action beats reaction", it doesn't mean she didn't commit a crime.

"And I believe all the officers involved, they're going to be held accountable because this family right here, we believe in a higher power". Her attorneys called other police officers who had previous run-ins with Crutcher where he was allegedly "noncompliant" and "defiant", resulting in a stun gun being used on one occasion.

The wire service quotes Defense Attorney Shannon McMurray saying Shelby is "elated" by the ruling, adding, "She's ready to get back to her life".

Nearly immediately after the shooting, the Justice Department started a parallel investigation into possible civil rights charges, with U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Sr. promising "to seek justice on behalf of this family, and for the public". "Terence did not attack her, Terence did not charge her. Terence was not the aggressor, Betty Shelby was the aggressor", Tiffany Crutcher, Terence's sister, said. 43-year-old Betty Shelby was acquitted after the trial, which lasted for a week.

Before the verdict was read, District Judge Doug Drummond told a packed courtroom: "I'm asking you to trust the system". Police also found a vial of PCP in Crutcher's vehicle.

Prosecutors said during closing arguments that Crutcher was not a threat to Shelby.

"The true reality is that we all knew it was a hard case", said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler who prosecuted the case.

Shelby testified that she fired out of fear because she said Crutcher didn't obey her commands and appeared to reach inside his SUV. They noted Crutcher had his hands in the air, partly confirmed by video taken from a dashboard camera and helicopter.

"We know we've had failings", Jordan said, re-emphasizing his department's resolve to implement community policing. She denied race was a factor in the killing and insisted her actions were driven entirely by the behavior of the man she shot, Terence Crutcher, 40, after his vehicle was left blocking a road.

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