An on-body camera has captured the moment when 73-year-old reserve deputy Robert Bates shot Eric Harris in an apparent mix-up with his Taser in Oklahoma.
Authorities released the video, which partially shows the fatal encounter of a black suspect at the hands of a reserve sheriff’s deputy who police have confirmed thought he was holding a stun gun instead of his handgun when he shot the man during a recent arrest in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The video recorded on April 2 during the live arrest, shows a Tulsa County deputy chase, tackle and attempt to subdue Eric Harris, 44, whom they had accused of trying to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer.
In the video, a deputy is heard telling Harris, “I need you to roll on your stomach.” At about the same time, a woman is heard in the background saying, “Stop fighting.”
While the deputy appears to have successfully subdued Harris on the ground, a gunshot rings out and a man says,
“Oh, I shot him. I’m sorry.”
Harris screams, “He shot me. Oh, my God,” and a deputy replies: “You f—–g ran. Shut the f— up.” The victim then says he’s losing his breath. A deputy replies, “F— your breath.”
Though Harris was treated by medics at the scene, he eventually succumbed to his injuries in a Tulsa hospital an hour later.
The video was released over the weekend after Harris’ family officially requested that it be made public. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office officials confirmed that the video was recorded by deputies with his camera mounted on his sunglasses. They further added that Bates believed he was holding a Taser and intended to incapacitate Harris when the fatal shot was fired.
Interestingly, an investigator who reviewed details of the shooting concluded that the deputy suffered a phenomenon known as “slips and capture” — a police term for when someone does one thing while believing they are doing something else in a high stress situation.
At the press conference on Friday, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey claimed that the officers, who surrounded Harris immediately after Bates fired his gun, were not aware that Harris had been shot. McKelvey also claimed that they radioed for paramedics as soon as they realized that Harris was wounded.
What seems to be even more appalling is that Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark said the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office’s investigation concluded that Bates did not commit a crime and no policy violations occurred.
[Image Credit | Video Grab, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Dept.]