Another unarmed man was shot by a cop- this time, an Tulsa County Oklahoma Reserve Deputy, Robert Bates, says he shot and killed the man by accident thinking he was just using his Taser. Eric Harris (40) was killed as he was fleeing from the police on foot. A video captures the incident where Harris is running then shot. The arresting cops can be heard telling the man to “shut the fuck up” as he is yelling in pain. At one point when Harris screams out, as officers are on top of him, “I’m losing my breath”, one cop can be heard saying, “Fuck your breath”. Harris was pronounced dead about an hour after he was shot. Bates, who is 73, was apparently assisting other officers when he fired his pistol instead of his Taser. Police say Harris had fled when they were attempting to arrest him for illegally selling a weapon to undercover cops. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s office says the police were unaware that Harris had been shot even though the video appears to contradict this assertion.
COMMENT: The shooting appears accidental, however, an investigation (preferably one conducted at the state, as opposed to local, level) is needed. The conduct and words of the officers are disturbing and unprofessional. The police are now claiming that this was a high risk arrest scene involving a felon selling a weapon to undercover cops- yet, a 73-year-old “reserve” officer is the one doing the shooting; at a minimum, this fact alone seems to undercut the professionalism of the preplanned arrest.
UPDATE: Bates has been charged with manslaughter in connection with this case. He surrendered to the police and was subsequently released on bail. The police had originally adamantly supported Bates, however, as the video depicted that Harris had already been subdued at the time the shot rang out, a public outcry started. Bates has been a huge supporter of the police in terms of donations and volunteering his time.