Deputy Charged for 'Accidental' Death of Eric Harris

The volunteer* Deputy policeman in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was given a controversial firearm has officially been charged. The Officer Charged For Using Gun Instead of Taser faces a verdict in what authorities call the “accidental” death of Eric Courtney Harris, in which a fatal handgun shot to the back was let off during an undercover sting that went real wrong, real quick (SMH).

Reserve Deputy Robert Bates can be heard in the video shouting the signature “taser!” call (paging Walter Scott) which according to police training is the way an officer lets the others know he’s about to deploy said weapon. Unfortunately it’s the “f*ck your breath” line heard from police while Harris was on the ground that most will remember, even more than Bates’ “I shot him, I’m sorry” line. As Sgt. Jim Clark of the Tulsa Police Department has come forward attempting to bring sanity and #facts to the situation, the Officer Charged For Using Gun Instead of Taser has sparked debate and controversy all over the net. CNN reports on the official charge noting:

In a written statement, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen A. Kunzweiler said Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence, defined by Oklahoma law as “the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions.”

…yikes, but #valid–depending on who you talk to of course. The usual progression of such a case (aka “the smear”) has come true in authorities painting Harris as a “dangerous, possibly PCP-addled illegal gun dealer who had recently sold methamphetamine to undercover police and who fled police that day in such a way as to give the impression that he had a gun in his waistband.” It was later revealed that he was actually unarmed,* though that has not changed the defense of the Officer Charged For Using Gun Instead of Taser. While Sgt. Clark says “you can train someone as much as you can…but in some cases training is not going to take you through the scenario,” he’s also said “a taser grip and gun grip are different,” AND has still gone on record to say Deputy Bates is a “victim.”

Clark said Bates, who was also one of the benefactors of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, was the “victim” of something called “slip and capture,” where in a high-stress situation, a person intends to do one thing and instead does something else.

..uh huh. Well…Eric’s brother Andre Harris has said the “violent” and “PCP” accusations are false. While the Officer Charged For Using Gun Instead of Taser awaits a verdict he told reporters: “He was nonviolent, he was peaceful, he was loving, he was caring, and he was my brother that I’ll never see again ’til I see him in heaven.” Damn (SMH). Add another name to that list of hashtags, y’all.


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