‘Reserve Sheriff’ Who Killed Black Man Faces Manslaughter Charges

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‘Reserve Sheriff’ Who Killed Black Man Faces Manslaughter Charges - Sputnik International
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Volunteer Reserve Deputy Robert Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter on Monday afternoon. The charge came 11 days after the deputy fatally shot an unarmed Eric Harris, 44, while allegedly meaning to use his taser.

On Monday, it was also reported that Bates is a 73-year-old insurance executive who had donated thousands to the Tulsa Police Department.

“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,’” District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler stated in a press release.

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A video released of the incident sparked massive outrage, as the officers were heard mocking Harris as he laid dying.  On Monday, there was renewed outrage, with many accusing the senior citizen of purchasing his badge through donations to the department.  Bates joined the program in 2008, and has since donated multiple vehicles, guns and stun guns to the Sheriff’s Office.

In the body camera footage, Reserve Officer Bates was heard yelling “Taser! Taser!” warning the other officers he was about to use his less lethal weapon, unfortunately, it wasn’t the sound of electricity that followed, its was the sound of a gunshot.  Bates had just shot Harris in the back.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I shot him,” Bates states as he drops his weapon.

At this point, Harris is seen being manhandled by police, after being shot, as an officer begins pressing his face to the ground with his knee.

“You ran! You f—kin ran! Shut the f— up!” an officer yells into the face of the dying man.

“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Harris screams.

“F–k your breath! Shut the f–k up!” the officer callously responds.

Volunteer reserve officers are used in many cities, with Tulsa reportedly using approximately 100 of them.  The deputies have varying levels of training and abilities, and some departments simply request donations in exchange for the positions.

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“These people drop four or five grand and dress up to look like police,” Donna LaMontaine, president of the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Michigan, told Salon. “I have a problem with that.”

Many are also pointing to the age of Bates as problematic, seeing as most police officers retire in their 50’s.  Some counties will not hire public safety officials who are over 40-years-old, and even have mandatory retirement at age 65 due to the physically demanding situations that police and firefighters are exposed to.

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