Harris Family On Guilty Verdict: 'We Put The Criminal Behind Bars'
TULSA, Oklahoma - It took a jury about three hours to return a guilty verdict for a former Tulsa County reserve deputy.
The jury found Bob Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris. Bates said he shot Harris after pulling his gun by mistake, instead of his Taser.
The families of both Harris and Bates were in the courtroom when the judge read the verdict.
Harris' family called the ruling a victory for Tulsa and the people of Oklahoma.
Shortly after the verdict was read, deputies escorted a handcuffed Bates out of the courtroom. His family followed, and walked quietly out of the courthouse.
The family of the victim, however, did talk.
“We put the criminal behind bars,” said Eric Harris’ brother, Andre.
Andre has been fighting for justice ever since his brother's death last year. Wednesday, he said he got it.
“It's victory for my family. I can rest. I can have some peace,” he said.
And while the Harris family finds peace, they said they hope Bates learns a lesson during his time in prison for Eric's death.
Andre said, “I hope he's taught a lesson that all lives matter.”
Andre said he also hopes the ruling shows others money can't buy everything.
“I will quote what the old sheriff said, do some pay to play, well yes, Bob Bates was one that actually showed that he paid to play. Now he gets to pay to play the penitentiary,” he said.
But, more than anything, Andre wants his brother to be remembered as 'The People's Champion' and for the difference he made through his death.
“He's gonna be remembered for his kind heart. He's gonna be remembered as the guy that helped change the city for the better,” he said.
There will be more to come between the Harris family and Bates. The Harris family has filed a civil lawsuit against Bob Bates and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.