Eric Harris shooting: Reserve deputy who shot suspect with gun rather than Taser charged with second-degree manslaughter

Man was killed in an undercover operation in Tulsa

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The Independent US

A reserve sheriff’s deputy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who claims he accidentally killed a man after mistakenly shooting him with his gun rather than his Taser, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to KJRH.

Robert Bates, the 73-year-old reserve deputy, was part of an undercover team conducting a gun bust that went awry. Eric Harris, who was suspected of trying to sell the gun, ran when he saw the authorities closing in.

Deputies subdued Mr Harris but Mr Bates fired his weapon during the struggle, hitting Mr Harris. The deputy said he thought he was firing his Taser, not his gun. A video of the encounter is below. Watch with caution, the video is disturbing.


In the video, Mr Harris can be heard saying he had been shot. One officer tells him that he should “Shut the f*** up” and says that he “shouldn’t have f***ing run away”.

Mr Bates can be heard on the video apologising for firing his weapon. Mr Harris was pronounced dead approximately one hour later at a Tulsa hospital.

District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charged Bates 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,” Mr Kunzweiler said.  “The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.”


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