Deputy Who Accidentally Shot Restrained Man Is a Wealthy Exec Who Pays to Play Cop

The reserve Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy who shot an unarmed black man last week is actually an insurance company executive who has donated weapons, stun guns and vehicles to the Sheriff’s Office since joining its ranks in 2008, Raw Story reports.


Robert Bates, 73, fatally shot and killed Eric Harris after he mistakenly grabbed his gun instead of his Taser last week. Bates is heard in the video of the shooting, released last week, saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

When Harris says, “I’m losing my breath,” an officer shouts back, “Fuck your breath.”

Harris was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

Bates, according to Maj. Shannon Clark, is a well-respected member of the Reserve Deputy Program’s 130-member team and one of its wealthy donors.  “There are lots of wealthy people in the reserve program," Clark said. "Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all.”

Bates is not compensated for his time as a reserve. And he was not assigned to be part of the "arrest team." He was just helping out. As an “advanced reserve,” he is allowed perform the same duties as a regular certified deputy, Clark added. An advanced reserve can “perform normal field duties by themselves and without the direct supervision of a certified deputy” after 320 hours of training with CLEET (the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) as well as have completed 480 hours of the TCSO Field Training Officer Program, according to the training manual.

The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office has not decided on if it will press charges against Bates or not.

He was a Tulsa police office for one year, in 1964.

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