In The Know: Officer Betty Shelby charged with first-degree manslaughter in fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Officer Betty Shelby charged with first-degree manslaughter in fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher: The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office filed a first-degree manslaughter charge on Thursday against Officer Betty Shelby in the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher last week. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said during a brief press conference that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Shelby, 42, who is expected to turn herself in to authorities. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Monday that Crutcher, a 40-year-old father of four, was unarmed when Shelby shot him once in the upper right lung area next to his stopped SUV near 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue at 7:44 p.m. Sept. 16 [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants Investigative Team For Police Shootings: Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman talked to News 9 reporter Justin Dougherty about Terence Crutcher’s death in Tulsa and other officer-involved shootings. Inman said an investigative team led by the attorney general may now be necessary. Inman said the state has discussed a team like this in the past, but those talks have been tabled for a while. Inman went on to say it may be necessary to have those talks once again [NewsOn6].

Heavy Fundraising on State Question 777 Suggests Right-to-Farm is High-Stakes Political Issue: Oklahoma voters will decide in November whether to change the state constitution with new language protecting the agriculture industry. Informally known as the right-to-farm amendment, State Question 777 raises a lot of legal, environmental and economic questions. A StateImpact analysis of state campaign finance data shows the issue has attracted more direct donations than any other ballot question, suggesting right-to-farm is high-stakes Oklahoma politics [StateImpact Oklahoma]. Learn more about 2016 State Questions here.

Despite price swoon, energy still key to Oklahoma economy, chamber report says: Lower prices and technology advancements have led to big changes in Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry, but raising severance taxes could dampen future development, a research report by the State Chamber of Oklahoma said Wednesday. Last year, almost 150,000 Oklahomans earned $15.6 billion in wages or self-employment income from the energy industry, the report said. Public education received about $331 million in oil and natural gas severance tax revenue in fiscal year 2015 [NewsOK].

Oklahoma unemployment rate increases for seventh straight month to 5.1 percent: Oklahoma’s jobless rate continued to climb in August. It hit 5.1 percent, which the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says is the seventh-straight month the state has seen an increase. Employment security commission economist Lynn Gray said in a note to reporters that there was a “silver lining” in August’s job numbers — the amount of unemployed has slowed since March [Tulsa World].

Prosperity Policy: Shortsighted cuts will bring long-term costs: Few things are as critical to a young person’s prospects as a high school diploma. For over two decades, Oklahoma has been a national leader for alternative education programs that keep at-risk students in school and provide them an enriched education until they graduate. Despite this proven success, education funding cuts have now slashed support for alternative education in half. As a result, we are abandoning our most at-risk students and endangering their futures [David Blatt / Journal Record]. Over the past two decades, Oklahoma has been a national leader for alternative education programs that keep at-risk students in school and help them to graduate [OK Policy].

Number of emergency teaching certificates outpacing last year, illustrating teacher shortage, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says: So far this fiscal year, the State Board of Education has approved 926 requests from schools for emergency certifications for teachers, the board was told Thursday. That compares to 842 at this time last year, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said. The number indicates the state’s teacher shortage is far from over, despite the fact that schools have eliminated or decided not to fill about 1,500 teaching positions due to budget cuts, Hofmeister said [Tulsa World].

One percent sales tax continues argument on how to fund Oklahoma education: Phyllis Hudecki and Dave Bond agree on one thing, Oklahoma education is in trouble. What to do about it? That is where the agreement ends. Hudecki, a former state secretary of education, and Bond, the CEO of a free-market advocacy group, spoke about Oklahoma State Question 779 Wednesday at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly general membership meeting [Norman Transcript]. Learn more about 2016 State Questions here.

Oklahoma Student Test Scores Are Slight Improvement Over Last Year’s: The Department of Education released statewide student assessment scores at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting and the results show an overall upward trend of improvement. But a slight one. Overall, Oklahoma students are performing better at reading than they are in math. On average, 70 percent of third through eighth-grade students are proficient in reading, and 65 percent of students are scoring proficient in math [KOSU].

Education Board reallocates $3 million to activity fund: Funds that were cut too much by the state are making their way back to your child’s classroom. On Thursday morning, the Oklahoma State Board of Education reallocated $3.4 million to the Public School Activities Fund. The money will go toward different programs such as staff development, alternative education, Sooner Start, and advanced placement teacher training. …However, Hofmeister said this is not a huge return, as $13 million was cut from the Public School Activities Fund earlier this year [KOCO].

Fallin starts process to replace Justice Taylor: A letter Gov. Mary Fallin sent to the Judicial Nominating Commission Wednesday starts the process to fill an expected state Supreme Court vacancy. In the letter to JNC Chairman John Tucker, Fallin gave formal notice that Justice Steven W. Taylor will retire; he submitted his retirement letter Aug. 2. The JNC will now begin advertising for the position. Any qualified attorney or judge in the second judicial electoral district can be appointed [Journal Record].

Fired Tulsa County Jailer Charged For Not Stopping Inmate Fight: Prosecutors charged former detention officer at the Tulsa County Jail with a misdemeanor in connection a fight between inmates last summer. Marc Charles Moncrief faces a charge of willful neglect to perform duty. Moncrief was fired on July 15, 2016. The sheriff’s office said it confirmed reports from an inmate that Moncrief had allowed dozens of inmates under his supervision to engage in a fight [NewsOn6].

Quote of the Day

“It is a crisis and we have got to solve it.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, on news that this year’s emergency teaching certifications is outpacing last year’s illustrating the state’s ongoing teacher shortage (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma public school students with disabilities who were subject to corporal punishment 2011-2012, 1,528 of whom were male

Source: Civil Rights Data Collection

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

More grandparents are raising grandchildren. Here’s how to help them: Robin Eschman has raised or helped raise two biological children, seven children who came to her through long-term relationships, and 11 grandchildren. She’s 55 and lives with her partner, Debra Weathers, in the Atlanta metro area. At one point, there were 10 kids in the house at the same time. The family bought food in bulk, made great use of bunk beds and fielded an entire baseball team [Hechinger Report].

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.