Tulsa Reserve Deputy Bob Bates Pleads Not Guilty, Trial Date Set
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Reserve Deputy Bob Bates pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris. Bates admits he accidentally pulled his gun instead of his Taser during an undercover sting involving stolen weapons.
Clark Brewster, Bates' attorney, said there will be a jury trial in the case. It was scheduled for February 8, 2016.
He said that although the shooting was traffic, he believes his client is innocent of manslaughter.
"It is our position this was a mistake; it was an accident that shouldn't have resulted in criminal charges, and that will be the basis of our criminal defense," Brewster said.
Judge James Caputo offered both sides a chance to express opinions over his remaining the trial judge due to past ties to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. He used to be a reserve deputy himself.
After the hearing, Caputo decided he will continue to be the presiding judge in the case.
A petition drive led by We The People garnished enough signatures to call for a grand jury investigation into Tulsa County Sheriff's Office after the shooting. Several highly placed members of TCSO have lost their jobs in the fallout.
Tulsa County Commissioners held a meeting on Monday to reconsider allowing Sheriff Stanley Glanz to use public money to pay for attorneys during a grand jury investigation of his office.
About 50 community members spoke out against that earlier this month during a town hall meeting hosted by Commissioner Karen Keith.