According to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office, Crutcher, 40, died from the gunshot wound to the chest, though he had "acute phencyclidine intoxication” during the September 16 incident.
“Angel dust, or PCP, can alter mood states unpredictably and cause paranoia, depersonalization and loss of ego boundaries. The toxicology report also tentatively identified tenocyclidine, a hallucinogen similar to PCP, in Crutcher's system,” Courthouse News reports.
Shelby has been charged, and has pleaded not guilty, to first-degree manslaughter over Crutcher’s death. The criminal complaint alleges that Shelby’s "fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting" Crutcher "unlawfully and unnecessarily."
In the footage, Crutcher is seen walking toward the police vehicle, before backing away slowly with his hands up as Shelby approached with her gun drawn.
Police say Shelby shot Crutcher as he attempted to reach inside his vehicle, after allegedly not complying with her commands. Crutcher’s family contends that there was blood splattered on the window, indicating that it was closed during the incident.
Shelby maintains that she was frightened and believed Crutcher to be on drugs, and that he was going to get a weapon from his vehicle. No weapon was found at the scene.
"The charges were filed without there being a completed investigation," Shannon McMurray, Shelby’s lawyer, told reporters on Tuesday, asserting her belief that the PCP found in Crutcher’s system justified the shooting.
"I feel confident, as the investigation unfolds and is released, that Officer Shelby was justified in her use of force,” she continued.
McMurray said that the finding will not change her defense however, as it is just “one piece of the puzzle.”
Bob Blakemore, the lawyer representing Crutcher’s family, has called the findings of PCP in his system “a distraction” that “is utterly immaterial" to whether or not the shooting was justified.
"Unfortunately, the use of illicit drugs is common in this country. Those, like Mr. Crutcher, who struggle with addiction should receive treatment, not a bullet in the chest,” Blakemore said in a statement.
The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, Ryan Kiesel, agrees with Blakemore’s statements.
"To say that anyone on that scene could have drawn this conclusion or that such a conclusion would justify lethal force is utterly ridiculous and disingenuous," Kiesel said in a statement. "Drug possession and drug use do not now, nor should they ever, justify summary execution. No doubt there will be those who will seize upon this news to justify the killing of Terence Crutcher."
Kiesel added that attempts to justify Crutcher’s killing by citing the PCP in his system is dehumanizing, and instills "genuine fear in the hearts of people of color across our nation,” Courthouse News reported.
Shelby, if convicted, faces from four years to life in prison. She is currently free, awaiting trial, on a $50,000 bond.