Baton Rouge is the home of Blane Salamoni and Yuseff Hamadeh, both cops who killed citizens and have escaped justice we don’t need any more cops teaching people how to get away with murder. News is circulating that former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby the officer who fatally shot and killed Terence Crutcher in 2016 during a traffic stop is coming to Baton Rouge this week to speak at a conference. Last year Shelby was acquitted after being charged for manslaughter in the case of Crutchers death.
Since then Shelby resigned from the Tulsa Police Department after her acquittal and she was soon after hired as a sheriff’s deputy for the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma. Now she’s being given the opportunity to share her story with other law enforcement officers around the country, and the next stop on the, “How to get away with murder tour” is Baton Rouge.
The NAACP wrote a letter that fully details the issue with Shelby coming to Baton Rouge by saying the following: “We write to express our concerns and strong opposition to Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association (SEHIA)’s decision to invite Deputy Sheriff Betty Jo Shelby (Deputy Betty Shelby or Deputy Shelby), Deputy Sheriff David Shelby (Deputy David Shelby), and Sergeant Dave Walker (Sergeant Walker) to serve as speakers at the SEHIA conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana scheduled for November 12-16, 2018. According to the conference website, Deputies Betty and David Shelby plan to discuss “Surviving the Aftermath of a Critical Incident,” and Sergeant Walker plans to discuss “Split Second Decisions: An in-depth look at Officer Betty Shelby’s OIS” (officer-involved shooting). The officer-involved shooting that will be discussed is Deputy Shelby’s September 16, 2016 fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher (Mr. Crutcher), an unarmed Black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where each speaker served as an
officer for the Tulsa Police Department. In fact, in August 2018, amidst great community opposition, 2 Deputies Betty and David Shelby conducted a similar training based on the killing of Terence Crutcher to officers in Tulsa—only days after Mr. Crutcher would have celebrated his 42nd birthday. Allowing these officers to now share with a national audience of law enforcement personnel how Deputy Shelby “survived” the consequences of a homicide that she committed is inconsistent with the purported work of SEHIA members—pursuing justice for homicide victims and their families.
Deputy Shelby is not a victim of Mr. Crutcher’s homicide. The late Mr. Crutcher and his survivors are the victims. Deputy Shelby’s subsequent acquittal on manslaughter charges is not an exoneration of her decision to kill an unarmed man that day, as the comments of the jurors following her trial make clear.”
Maybe you’ve forgotten the murder of Terence Crutcher but I haven’t. Betty Shelby acted as a coward, when only she fired her gun killing Crutcher, and now she’s being paid to speak on the incident in a city where the killers of Alton Sterling and Jordan Frazier could get the bold idea they should in essence, get paid off murdering a citizen. Its disgusting and shouldn’t happen. Not to mention the final destiny of both of these officers jobs has yet to be determined by the local civil service board. Salamoni is appealing to get his job back after being fired, as is Yuseff Hamadeh who was fired just last month for shooting at another citizen.
Leaders in Baton Rouge, should all call for Shelby not to be welcome in our city. Issues like this are what make people believe law-enforcement and community leaders are tone deaf to the concerns of citizens. Think about it, Shelby shot a man in cold blood, got away with it. Crutcher was unarmed and not a threat to Shelby, but she gets the opportunity to teach other cops how to get away with being trigger happy.
The families of Alton Sterling and Jordan Frazier are still grieving the death of their loved ones at the hands of police here in Baton Rouge, and police think it is a good idea to bring a killer cop to a city where so many have been killed by the police?
Let me give a partial run down of some of the cases where people have died in association with police interactions in Baton Rouge. Calvin Toney, who was killed in 2017 by a Baton Rouge police officer in a case that body cam footage has never been released. I must also mention the name of Travis Stevenson who was unarmed and had 20 rounds fired at him, killing him by East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputies in 2016. Lamar Johnson who was alleged to have hung himself in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in 2015 weeks before the death of Sandra Bland in Texas. Raheem Howard a 21 year old young black man who was shot at this year by Yuseff Hamadeh the cop pictured next to Shelby, who killed Jordan Frazier in 2017, and has since been fired for shooting at Howard who was unarmed this year. Hamadeh lied and said Howard fired a shot at him, much like he said he feared for his life when he shot Jordan Frazier in the back twice killing him while Frazier was running away.
In 2016 Baton Rouge was the city that sent the nation into an uproar with the death of Alton Sterling, followed by Philando Castile in Minnesota the very next day. Bringing a cop here to speak on “surviving the aftermath” is as distasteful as it comes. It shows how little respect some officers have for the citizens they are paid to protect. Why not take this class to cities that haven’t experienced this type of tragedy? Why kick the hornets nest? The answer is simple, because in the era of Donald Trump, law enforcement leaders feel bolder about the aggressions they take against black and brown people.
Allowing Shelby to speak as a “survivor” when the man she killed was unarmed and not a threat to her in any form or fashion is just foul. I’m attempting to stay away from the gutter that those who believe this is okay live in, but plain and simple, Betty, we don’t need you in Baton Rouge further polluting the already toxic police culture of our community.
Our community still has to deal with the fact that Yuseff Hamadeh hasn’t been charged by Baton Rouge Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore for shooting at unarmed Raheem Howard who was running away from him. Moore again is the reason Yuseff Hamadeh was allowed to be a cop again like Shelby. The issue with Betty Shelby is much like Hamadeh, when you give a cop who kills a citizen unjustly the right to continue being an officer — you give them the right to potentially do it again like Hamadeh, who shot at Howard a year later. Shelby, is not only potentially a Hamadeh waiting to happen, she believes she’s an expert in how to “survive”/“Get Away With Murder”. If people believe this is something that will make law enforcement better, from every person who wants cops and the communities they serve to find a way forward, THIS IS NOT GOING TO HELP.
I hope leaders will join the NAACP, just as I am in calling on the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association to rescind their invitation to Betty Shelby and her husband, Baton Rouge doesn’t need any more cops helping justify the unjustifiable nor helping teach them how to “survive”/“get away” with the injustice.