Oklahoma millionaire deputy Robert Bates is off to the Bahamas on a vacation. The Tulsa County reserve deputy has been charged with manslaughter in the Eric Harris shooting. Deputy Bates mistakenly pulled his gun instead of his Taser and shot and killed Harris.
Robert Bates, 73, was released on bond after a hearing in the Eric Harris shooting case. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy has not commented publicly since being released on bail earlier this week. Bates pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter charges. Eric Harris was shot and killed during a law enforcement sting operation on April 2. Bates reportedly confronted Harris, 44, during the gun-sale operation raid.
An Oklahoma judge released Robert Bates, a retired insurance executive, on $25,000 bond. The judge also granted the man accused of manslaughter in the Eric Harris shooting to go on a previously planned Bahamas vacation. The Tulsa County special deputy is due back in court on July 2.
“Whether intended or not, Mr. Bates’ vacationing in the Bahamas at this time sends a message of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric’s life,” a statement from the Eric Harris family says. “At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his wealth and privilege.”
Robert Bates reportedly traveled to the Bahamas in the past with Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Blanz and another reserve deputy in the county. Bates allegedly footed the bill for “part” of Sheriff Glanz’s Bahamas trip.
Video from the Eric Harris shooting reportedly indicated that Robert Bates chased Eric Harris and attempted to subdue the suspect. When the Oklahoma millionaire deputy reached for his Taser, he allegedly grabbed his handgun by mistake and fired.
“Taser! Taser,” Bates is reportedly heard shooting in the Eric Harris shooting video. When the sound of the gunshot is heard, the Tulsa County deputy is off, he says: “I shot him! I’m sorry.”
“Oh my god, he shot me! He shot me! He shot me, man,” Eric Harris is reportedly heard saying in the same video. “Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Harris also allegedly utters.
Tulsa County Sheriff Glanz said that Bates, a former campaign manager for the elected official, was properly trained to be a special reserve deputy and had passed his annual firearms certification. Dan Smolen, the attorney for the Eric Harris family, claims that Sheriff Glanz’s office violated its internal policies by letting Robert Bates carry his personal handgun when he had trained with a different pistol and failed to record Bates’ training. The Oklahoma millionaire deputy reportedly underwent firearms training with a.45 and not the pistol used in the Eric Harris shooting.
Robert Gates reportedly sold his insurance business in 1999 for $6 million. He trained to be a Tulsa police officer in 1964, but left the position in 1965. Bates reportedly returned to volunteer law enforcement work in Florida in 2000 and joined the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office as an unpaid reserve deputy in 2008.
What do you think about Oklahoma millionaire Deputy Robert Bates being granted permission to go on vacation in the Bahamas?
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