Tulsa police officer, Sergeant Jim Clark, who was appointed to investigate the shooting death of Eric Harris, 44, came up with an incredibly lame explanation to justify his conclusion that no crime was committed and no departmental policy was violated.
Vox sets the scene,
Robert Bates, a white reserve deputy in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, shot and killed Eric Harris, an unarmed black man, during an April 2 sting operation after Harris was pinned to the floor by multiple officers.
In video footage released Friday, it appears Bates meant to use his stun gun on Harris, warning deputies that he was going to use his Taser before firing a shot from his actual gun. Immediately after firing, he shouted: “I shot him! I’m sorry!”
The footage was taken after a sting operation, in which officers caught Harris illegally selling guns, NBC News and CNN reported.
Robert Bates, 73, is a pay-to-play reserve sheriff’s deputy. When he is not playing cops and robbers, he is an executive with an insurance company.
Harris is black and yet another unarmed victim of a police shooting.
USA Today reports what Sergeant Clark said,
“Reserve Deputy Bates did not commit a crime,” he said. “There’s no other determination I could come to.”
Clark cited “slip and capture,” a psychological phenomenon where, under stress, someone’s behavior “slips” off the intended path after being “captured” by a stronger response demanded by the brain.
Clark determined that Bates was a “victim” of the phenomenon.
We have at least criminal (gross) negligence here. Besides Harris being black, maybe they decided to call this an accident because Bates has ‘paid’ a lot to play cop.
Sheriff’s Maj. Shannon Clark told the World that Bates donates his time and is a highly regarded member of the Reserve Deputy Program. He has also donated multiple vehicles, guns and stun guns, Clark said.
“There are lots of wealthy people in the reserve program,” he said. “Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all.”
I don’t know if I am more shocked by the killing or the incredibly lame justification to excuse it.
I guess the smell of greasepaint and the roar of the crowd beats watching a movie.
UPDATE: CNN reported late yesterday after I published this article at Firedoglake that Reserve Deputy Sheriff Robert Bates has been charged with second degree manslaughter.