Ex-Oklahoma deputy gets 4 years for mistaking gun for Taser

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Robert Bates, 74, got the maximum possible sentence.
Robert Bates, 74, got the maximum possible sentence.

A former Oklahoma deputy who said he meant to use his stun gun but instead fatally shot a suspect with his revolver received a four-year sentence Tuesday, KTUL reported.

Robert Bates, 74, got the maximum possible sentence.

A jury on April 27 found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter and recommended the four-year sentence.

At the time of the shooting, Bates was 73 and the CEO of an insurance company.

He had worked for the Tulsa Police Department for a year in the 1960s and had been a reserve deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office since 2008.

On April 2, 2015, he was providing backup and parked several blocks away from an undercover officer conducting a sting operation to try to catch Eric Courtney Harris illegally selling a gun.

As deputies rolled up to arrest Harris that day, the suspect bolted and was pursued by officers, who caught him and took him to the ground.

Bates got out of his vehicle and fired his pistol into Harris’ back.

“Oh! I shot him! I’m sorry!” Bates said, as captured in a video of the shooting.

Authorities said Bates thought he pulled out his Taser but “inadvertently” fired his gun.

The death of Harris is one of several nationally known cases in which a white law enforcement officer killed an unarmed black man.

These cases have galvanized the public over tactics that police are trained to use.

Latest News

More News

National News

More National

Washington D.C.

More Washington

Your Local Election HQ

More Your Local Election HQ

Latest News

More News

KFOR Digital Originals

More Digital Original


Follow @KFOR on Twitter

Border Report

More Border Report