Tulsa reserve deputy charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter turns himself in

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Robert Bates

TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County reserve deputy who was charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris turned himself in to authorities Tuesday.

Reserve Deputy Robert Bates shot and killed Eric Harris April 2 during an undercover operation.

Robert Bates

Robert Bates

Officials say 73-year-old Bates accidentally grabbed his gun instead of his Taser as he tried to help subdue a suspect black market gun dealer.

Video shows Harris running from the deputies before he was tackled.

Also in the video, an officer is heard calling for a Taser.  But in place of an electric clicking sound, a gunshot rings out.

A voice can be heard saying, “Oh! I shot him! I’m sorry!” Another officer screams out, “He shot him! He shot him!”

Harris is heard telling the officers he was shot and that he is losing his breath.

“You f**king ran! Shut the f**k up!” an officer yells back at him. “F**k your breath,” he said.

Eric Harris

Eric Harris

Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark defended the officer’s language, saying the deputy experienced auditory exclusion, never heard the gunshot and thought the suspect was out of breath from running.

“They did not know that he was shot at this time. They had audio exclusion. They was at a point where they couldn’t hear. They didn’t even hear the gunshot go off. The officers did not know that Mr. Harris had been shot,” Clark said.

Officials say Harris was treated at the scene by EMSA medics and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting and determined Bates committed no crime.

However, on Monday, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charged Bates with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence.

“Mr. Bates is charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter involving culpable negligence. Oklahoma law defines culpable negligence 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,” said DA Steve Kunzweiler.  “The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.”

On Tuesday, Bates turned himself in to authorities just before 10 a.m.

He was booked into the Tulsa County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Thirty minutes later Bates posted bond and left the jail.

 

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