Guest Editorial…Deputy’s unqualified fatal actions should face prosecution


Why was a 73-year-old insurance executive involved in an arrest that led to the suspect’s death?

That’s the question the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office should explain.

An Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man, who was subdued on the ground, has surrendered to authorities.

Robert Bates turned himself in last Tuesday morning at the Tulsa County Jail. The 73-year-old insurance executive was charged with second-degree manslaughter April 13, in the April 2 shooting.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy was released after posting bond. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Authorities say 44-year-old Eric Harris tried to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer. They say Bates accidentally shot Harris after confusing his stun gun and handgun. Harris, who is African American, was treated by medics at the scene and died in a Tulsa hospital. Bates is White.

A video of the incident shot by deputies and released at the request of the victim’s request show disturbing conduct by law enforcement.

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