Oklahoma sheriff’s deputy turns himself in after being charged with manslaughter for killing suspect
A reserve deputy charged in a fatal shooting in Oklahoma has turned himself in to authorities, CNN reported on Tuesday.
Oklahoma prosecutors on Monday charged sheriff’s reserve deputy Robert Bates with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a black man this month in Tulsa.
Bates, 73 and white, fatally shot Eric Harris, 44, an African American, on April 2. Bates thought he was using a Taser instead of his gun, the Tulsa Sheriff’s office said of the incident seen in a video released over the weekend.
CNN reported that Corbin Brewster, an attorney representing Bates, told reporters that his client has been misrepresented in news articles that have questioned the use of reserve officers who work part-time as police and hold other jobs as well.
“They’ve taken the fact that this man has been good to the community and has been benevolent to the community and has been a great citizen for our town and made it something bad or sinister. That’s the unfortunate thing,” Brewster said.
It was unclear whether Bates was in custody after turning himself in, or whether he was booked and released.
Bates works as an insurance executive and also worked on the Tulsa Sheriff’s Violent Crimes Task Force. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department uses volunteer reserve deputies who have full powers and authorities.
Legal experts said second-degree manslaughter in Oklahoma can bring between two and four years in prison.
In the video, a man Oklahoma authorities identified as Bates is heard saying: “Oh, I shot him. I’m sorry.”
Police were pursuing Harris on suspicion of trying to sell a gun illegally to an undercover officer in a police sting. He fled the scene and was being chased.
(Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Lambert)