FOP chair

Tulsa FOP Chairman Jerad Lindsey filed an ethics complaint regarding DA Steve Kunzweiler’s “unethical actions” in the prosecution of Betty Shelby. The Oklahoma Bar Association declined to evaluate that complaint. JESSIE WARDARSKI/Tulsa World file

Update: The Tulsa World received the following statement from Jerad Lindsey, chairman of the board of FOP Lodge 93, after press time Monday night:

“We are disappointed in the Oklahoma Bar Association’s decision to not further investigate the ethics complaint against District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. We stand by our decision to file the complaint and regardless of the outcome, hope it will prevent the district attorney from rushing to charges in future cases.”

The story as it appears in Tuesday's Tulsa World is below:

The Oklahoma Bar Association has summarily denied a complaint filed against Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler related to his handling of the manslaughter case against soon-to-be former Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby.

In a statement Monday, Kunzweiler said he received word several weeks ago that the OBA would not review the complaint leveled against him by Jerad Lindsey, chairman of the board for the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police.

“The Bar Association’s decision speaks for itself,” Kunzweiler said. “My focus and attention remains as it has for the past 28 years — concentrated upon securing public safety on the cases which are in front of me.”

Lindsey’s complaint, which he filed May 3, alleged Kunzweiler “unfairly” charged Shelby in the Sept. 16 shooting death of Terence Crutcher without having probable cause. The grievance stated that Kunzweiler’s “rushed” decision seemed to have been made “merely based on watching a video” of the shooting rather than waiting for all available evidence to reach his office.

Members of Shelby’s legal team said at the time they weren’t aware in advance that the FOP planned to lodge a formal complaint against Kunzweiler.

Shelby’s trial ended May 17 with a jury finding her not guilty of first-degree manslaughter either in the heat of passion or while resisting what she believed was Crutcher’s attempt to commit misdemeanor offenses of public intoxication and obstruction.

Lindsey, as well as Shelby’s defense team, took issue with the probable cause affidavit used as the basis for the charge to be filed. The affidavit came from District Attorney’s Office investigator Doug Campbell rather than a Tulsa Police Department employee, which Lindsey argued was a departure from normal procedure related to fatal police encounters.

Samantha Vicent


Twitter: @samanthavicent