Going forward, there is hope that what we see and hear on video can be trusted at pixel value now-no games of “hurry up and wait” and meticulous deliberation and contemplation of what’s going on right on tape anymore.
Eric Garner may not have gotten the justice due him for blatant disregard of his life, but another Eric is getting his justice while his cop killer prepares to get his just desert.
Unfortunately, it took several beatings and deaths of Eric Harris’ predecessors to get quick, swift justice for he and men like last week’s Walter Scott and the thousands of people who raised sand and a hand to bring awareness to the growing trend [of injustice].
UPDATE: A reserve deputy who fatally shot a man during an undercover gun sting was charged with second-degree manslaughter Monday afternoon, according to a press release from the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.
“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 said in the statement.
“The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law, but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.”
Earlier Monday, Sheriff Stanley Glanz described Reserve Deputy Robert Charles “Bob” Bates as a longtime friend who made “an error” last week when he fatally shot an unarmed man trying to flee deputies during an undercover operation to retrieve stolen guns.
Glanz also said he had no plans to change the deputy reserve program but that it will be looked as part of the Sheriff’s Department routine review of operations.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Bates had intended to use a Taser on Eric Courtney Harris as Harris was being subdued during an undercover gun buy but instead pulled his gun and fired one shot.
“He made an error,” Glanz said. “How many errors are made in an operating room every week?”
An investigator retained by the Sheriff’s Office found that Bates violated no policies. The case is now in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office.
Asked if he thought the shooting was justified, Glanz said, “That is a hard word for me to answer.”
He added: “It was unintentional. You know, justified means you had reason to do something. He had reason to get the gun out when the guy was fleeing.”
Glanz said the reserve program will be examined at some point.
“We go over (different) policies and procedures from the office once a month,” Glanz said. “So in one year we have looked at all of the policies and procedures.”
Sheriff’s Office procedures were reviewed last week by the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement. The inspection was scheduled before the shooting occurred and was not done in response to it, Glanz said.
“They looked at all of our policies and found them to be in order,” Glanz said. “And they looked specifically at the reserve program and found it to be in order.”
Harris’ death is the latest in a series of killings nationwide of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement officers.
The video of Harris’ shooting was played on several national television broadcasts over the weekend as the latest example of such incidents.
But Glanz cautioned against lumping all of the deaths together.
“They’re really not related,” Glanz said, “and each one needs to be looked at on their own merit and what really occurred.”
Glanz’s said he has been friends with Bates for about 50 years and that Bates has been his insurance agent.
He dismissed the notion that their friendship had led to Bates’ receiving special treatment, noting that many people have given their time and purchased equipment, including cars, for the Sheriff’s Office.
“We have a lot of people giving themselves to the community,” he said.
Glanz responded to critics who have said Bates, 73, was too old to be a reserve deputy. The Sheriff’s Office once had an 81-year-old deputy, Glanz said.
“I am 72 years old, and I think I am still active,” the sheriff said.
This morning’s 10-minute interview ended with Glanz’s pulling his phone out to show a picture of him and Bates fishing on a local lake.
Bates can be seen wearing a big smile as he holds up a (cont’d)