New Video Shows Former Reserve Deputy Using Force Days Before Harris Shooting
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - New video shows a former Tulsa County reserve deputy on duty, using force, days before he shot and killed a suspect.
Working with our partner, The Frontier, News On 6 is showing you the exclusive bodycam footage for the first time.
At 7:30 in the morning on March 12, 2015, Reserve Deputy Bob Bates is on the frontlines of a drug bust with the Violent Crimes Task Force. He’s standing over a suspect who is naked and moaning.
At first, you see Bates holding a Taser in his right hand, then he says, “Back fellas, I'm gettin' my second round here."
Seconds later you hear:
"What are you, what are you moanin' about? What's hurtin'?"
We believe the deputy wearing the bodycam tells Bates, "Stop. Stop." Then you see Bates switch his Taser to his left hand and, with his right hand, reach for his gun.
Fast forward days later to April 2, 2015, when Bates said he mistakenly pulled his gun instead of his Taser.
That time, he shot and killed suspect Eric Harris.
Under sheriff's office policy states only the most qualified reserve deputies can serve with the Violent Crimes Task Force.
"And as long as they qualified under that tier, they were allowed to do so," said Tulsa County sheriff, Michelle Robinette.
But Bates is not qualified.
An internal affairs report shows deputies were intimidated to fake Bates' training records.
Policy also states any time a deputy uses force there should be a record of it.
Robinette said, "If they present their weapon, whether it's the gun or the Taser, they have to fill out a use of force."
But nowhere in the report on the March 12th arrest does it state that Bates pulled his Taser and gun. In fact, Bates is absent from the report as if he wasn't even there.
Bates' attorney, Clark Brewster, did not want to comment for the story.
Bates' trial for the shooting death of Harris begins April 18th. It will be up to the judge whether the video can be shown at trial.
Our partner The Frontier has posted a three-part series of the investigation into the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. You can see them all on their website.
In response to our stories, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office released a statement saying, "We are unsure where the local CBS affiliate got their information that any force was used on this suspect."
This week, Sheriff Michelle Robinette told us, when a deputy presents, pulls or points a gun or Taser, it's use of force.
But Thursday, the sheriff's office told us it's only use of force when a deputy points a gun or Taser at a suspect.