Reserve Deputy Mistakes Taser for Gun, Fatally Shoots African-American Suspect

kim kardashian

Reserve Deputy Robert Bates killed an African-American man, Eric Harris, who was considered to be a suspect in an undercover operation over illegal weapons sales in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tulsa police released a video of the event on Friday. Bates, 73, states he mistakenly fired his gun instead of the Taser he initially meant to use according to the Huffington Post.

Bates, who used to be a police officer, yelled “Taser, Taser,” before firing his gun at Harris, 44, on April 2nd. After the gunshot, Bates said, “I shot him. I’m sorry.”

During the undercover operation, Harris allegedly sold a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition to an undercover police officer. A video released by CNN shows Harris in the process of selling the gun to the undercover cop. “It’s a luger. German luger,” Harris said on the tape.

After the exchange, Harris realizes that it was a set-up and begins to run from police. Within moments, gunshots are heard and Harris shouted, “He shot me, man. Oh my god. I’m losing my breath.”

“F—k your breath. Shut the f—k up,” one of the officers on the video said in response.

Harris was unarmed at the time of the shooting, according to the New York Daily News. He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

In a written statement, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen A. Kunzweiler said Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence. This is a felony charge that could result in Bates spending up to four years behind bars.

CNN reports that Scott Wood, an attorney that represents the reserve deputy, said that Bates fatally shooting Harris was an “excusable homicide.”

“We believe the video itself proves that it was an accident of misfortune that occurred while Deputy Bates was fulfilling his duties as a reserve deputy,” Wood stated. “He is not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.”

As investigators continue to express that their defense for Bates and the other police authorities involved, the public used social media to voice their criticism over the event.

“Tulsa steroid cop tells dying suspect “F**k your breath” Waiting for the badge sniffers to defend him, ” expressed Sharon in a tweet on Twitter.

“What a horrid article ‪@CNN @EliottCNN   Auditory exclusion? slip and capture? the deputy as the victim? You should be ashamed,” Catherine said on Twitter.

The family of Harris family is requesting an investigation from authorities into the incident they describe as unjustified brutality.

CNN interviewed the attorney representing the Harris family on this case, Daniel Smolen. Smolen said Bates paid a lot of money to police authorities to play cop during his free time.

Bates, who worked as a police officer for a year in the 1960s, had been a reserve deputy since 2008, with 300 hours of training and 1,100 hours of community policing experience, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Daniel Smolen, an attorney representing the Harris family, said Bates paid big money to play a cop in his spare time.

“It’s absolutely mind boggling that you have a wealthy businessman who’s been essentially deputized to go play like he’s some outlaw, like he’s just cleaning up the streets,” he said.

Some of the donations Bates gave to the Sheriff’s Office are cars and video equipment. Wood stated Bates had done all the mandatory training and was involved in more than 100 operations with the task force he was working with the day the shooting incident was recorded.

Bates said to investigators that he was “in a state of shock and disbelief” immediately after shooting Harris. He also explained that he believed there was a “strong possibility” that Harris had a gun.

Photo via Police Handout/tulsaworld.com

 

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