DA: 'Highly Concerned About Recent Allegations' Involving TCSO
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa County District Attorney said he is concerned with recent allegations that have surfaced involving the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
According to a news release, the DA's office has requested and received many documents from TCSO post the fatal April 2 shooting involving suspected illegal gun dealer Eric Harris and Reserve Deputy Bob Bates.
The release says new information has been submitted to the office regarding the actions of the Sheriff's Office that warrants investigation beyond the manslaughter case the DA has filed against Bates.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy
District Attorney, Steve Kunzweiler said the DA's office is not an investigative agency, but said, “I am highly concerned about recent allegations that have surfaced and I have been in contact with independent law enforcement agencies regarding further investigation into these matters.”
Kunzweiler said, to protect the integrity of the investigations he would not give any details or comment.
In response to Kunzweiler's announcement, the Sheriff's office released a statement saying:
"We intend to fully cooperate with any legal investigation. We will not comment further so as not to interfere with any law enforcement investigation."
A newly-released report shows deputies at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office raised concerns about Bates' training for years, but were intimidated to keep quiet.
The investigation by the sheriff's office in 2009 reveals Bates received special treatment and equipped his personal vehicle as a police car.
The investigation also shows the deputy overseeing Bates' training says he signed off that Bates had 150 hours more training than he actually completed.
Another internal memo from 2008 says Bates, "...has not completed the 480 hour [training] and is not authorized to make traffic stops.”
The report says a sergeant tried to suspend Bates for failing to meet firearm qualifications, but Major Tom Huckeby and then-Deputy Chief Tim Albin stepped in, saying that was "harassment."
When deputies questioned Bates about using his personal car to make unauthorized vehicle stops, the report quotes Bates as saying, "Well I can do it and if you don't like it you can talk to...Sheriff Glanz."
The report concluded, "Policy has been violated and continues to be violated by...Huckeby and...Albin with regard to special treatment shown to...Bates."
Albin could not be reached for comment.
Huckeby referred us to sheriff's office spokesperson Major Shannon Clark, who would not comment.
Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz discounted the investigation in a Monday briefing:
Glanz: "There was an investigation that occurred under Sheriff Edwards."
Reporter: "What was the outcome of that?
Glanz: "I'm not sure. I believe that they found that there was no special treatment."
Former Undersheriff Brian Edwards, who led the 2009 investigation, says he now remembers it, but won't talk about it.
In response to the "unauthorized release of the documents," the Sheriff's Office released a statement saying:
"The release of this document(s) was unauthorized and we are examining how the release occurred. No action was taken at the time, but the existence of this document demonstrates this office's willingness to investigate and review any allegations of policy violations. We will not comment further."