Family Of Man Fatally Shot By Tulsa Reserve Deputy Wants Video Released
TULSA, Oklahoma - The family of the man killed by a Tulsa County reserve deputy is asking for transparency.
Reserve deputy Bob Bates was working the perimeter during an undercover sting operation April 2nd, when the department said the suspect, Eric Harris, ran from and began to fight the deputies trying to arrest him.
Harris ran toward Bates, who said he meant to use his Taser but pulled and fired his gun by mistake.
Now Harris's family wants to see video, but the sheriff's office won't release it yet.
Bates' attorney, Scott Woods, said Bates had a Taser on his chest and gun on his belt. The attorney said Bates yelled, "Taser, Taser," as he went for his gun, showing his intent to instead grab the Taser.
Harris' family knows that might be true, but they want to see the video to prove it.
Aidan Fraley is a 16-year-old without his dad.
"Sweet, nice, forgiving, thoughtful,” Aidan said. “He would do anything for anybody."
Bates said he shot Harris when he grabbed his gun instead of his Taser.
Harris' death could've been an accident, but the man representing the Harris family, Daniel Smolen, thinks it may be excessive force.
"There's a lot that we know about what happened to Eric Harris, but there's a lot that we don't know," he said.
Smolen said there's surveillance video from the Dollar General in north Tulsa where it happened, and he wants to see it. He also wants video from a deputy who wore a camera on his glasses.
"I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened, and all the videos that they say they have, how come they haven't been released? And when will they be released," Aidan asked.
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office won't release video because it's an ongoing investigation.
Bates could be charged, but Woods said the video will prove it was an accident.
The video, may answer some questions, but it won't answer every question for Harris's brother, Andre.
"What kind of gun did Bob Bates use? That's my question. Was he trained in how to use this weapon? Did Eric have a weapon on him at the time that he was killed," Andre said.
The family brought pictures to their press conference Thursday; images of a life lost during an undercover gun deal that deputies said turned into a fight, then shooting, when Harris tried to run away from deputies.
Deputies said they've tried to talk to the family, many times, but the family won't take them up on it.
Deputies also said the family hasn't asked them any of the questions they asked the media.
The district attorney's office is expected to get the investigative report Friday, and could release video after that.