Manslaughter charges for deputy reserve
District attorneys charged a sheriff’s reserve deputy with manslaughter Monday April 13, 2015 in the killing of a man who was fatally shot in the back as he lay on the ground. Video shows Reserve Deputy sheriff Robert Bates announcing he is intending to deploy his Taser after an undercover weapons sting operation on April 2, but then wrongly shooting Eric Courtney Harris in the back with a handgun.
Reserve deputy who shot unarmed black man charged with second-degree manslaughter
In a written statement, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen A. Kunzweiler said Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence, described by Oklahoma law as “the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions.”.
It was the most recent deadly shooting by a police officer to attract national awareness after months of scrutinies and protests of various fatalities in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, Los Angeles and additional elsewhere.
A video of the occurrence captured by a deputy with a sunglass camera and released Friday at the request of the victim’s family, shows a deputy chase and tackle Harris, whom they said attempted to sell an illegal handgun to an undercover police officer.
Eric Courtney Harris Shooting VIDEO: Police Kills Man Mistaken Gun with Taser
As the deputy subdues Harris on the street, a gunshot erupts and a man says: “Oh, I shot him. I’m sorry.”.
Harris is heard screaming: “He shot me. Oh, my God,” and a deputy replies: “You f– ing ran. Shut the f– up.”.
During which Harris says that he was losing his breath, a deputy replies, “F– your breath.”.
Harris was treated by medics at the incident location and died in a Tulsa hospital.
The family said in a statement that it was “saddened, shocked, disturbed and confused.”.
“Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all of this is the inhumane and malicious treatment of Eric after he was shot,” the family wrote. “These deputies treated Eric as less than human. They treated Eric as if his life had no value.”.
At a news conference on Monday, Andre Harris, the victim’s brother, stated he does not feel the shooting was racially motivated.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department uses volunteer reserve deputies who have full powers and authorizations. Bates works as an insurance executive as well as worked on the Tulsa Sheriff’s Violent Crimes Task Force.
Bates was named Reserve Deputy of the Year in 2011, according to the Sheriff’s Office website.