FBI will not conduct Civil Rights Investigation in accidental shooting death by reserve deputy

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TULSA, Okla. – FBI officials say they will not conduct a Civil Rights Investigation into the shooting death of Eric Harris.

On April 2, officials with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were conducting an undercover investigation into illegal arms dealing.

Harris was one of the subjects of that investigation.

After seeing patrol cars pull alongside his vehicle, Harris jumped from the passenger’s seat and took off.

He ran along the sidewalk until he was tackled by a deputy.

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.

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

Reserve deputy Robert Bates says he meant to grab his taser but accidentally grabbed and fired his gun instead.

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

However, he has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in Harris’ death.

“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 Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.  “The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.”

Officials were also calling for an investigation by the FBI.

On Monday, the agency released the following statement.

“The FBI has reviewed the information from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office shooting of Eric Harris. It has been determined, based on the information available at this time, that a Civil Rights Investigation into the shooting death of Mr. Harris is not warranted. The FBI will remain open to re-evaluating the matter should new information or evidence come to the surface that would warrant such a review.”

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