The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said on Monday it would investigate the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, which has been under scrutiny since a reserve sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a suspect in April.
Robert Bates, a 73-year-old white reserve deputy, has been charged with manslaughter for shooting 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 that was videotaped and shown in the media.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office, which has asked the district attorney in nearby Okmulgee County to handle the case, requested the bureau investigation to look for possible misconduct at the sheriff’s department.
The bureau, which did not specify the nature of its probe, opened an investigation on Friday. It is a statewide agency for criminal investigations.
Local media reported that Bates received special treatment because of a friendship with Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
The attorney for the Harris family released a statement saying the department violated rules and that Bates was not qualified to be on the force.
Bates’ attorney says Bates has received “hundreds of hours” of training and released documents to prove Bates had proper training.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)