Deputy Testifies He Saw Bob Bates Nod Off Before Fatal Tulsa Shooting

Thursday, April 21st 2016, 1:47 pm
By: News On 6

Day 2 of testimony in the manslaughter trial of former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Bob Bates took place on Thursday. Tulsa County deputies who took part in the undercover gun sting the day Eric Harris died testified Thursday morning.

One said he saw Bates apparently fall asleep a few minutes before the fatal shooting.

The first witness called by prosecutors was Deputy Lance Ramsey. 

Ramsey testified that he did the undercover buys with Eric Harris and planned the operations, including the takedown, with the goal of keeping the deputies, the public and Harris safe. He testified that he briefed the team that morning and made sure all the deputies knew Harris was dangerous, with prior convictions of armed robbery, escape and assault on an officer. 

Ramsey also informed his teammates that Harris would be armed with a gun he was bringing to sell. 

Ramsey says it is not uncommon on felony takedowns for several deputies to draw their guns. and many of them did when trying to arrest Harris. Bates' attorney asked Ramsey, had one of those deputies fired and shot Harris, who was running, not obeying commands and had his hands at his waist, would it have been a justified use of force. 

4/20/2016 Related Story: The Frontier: As Testimony Begins, Robert Bates Trial Hits A Few Snags

Ramsey said he couldn't answer that, but said he would not have shot Harris under those circumstances.

He did admit that his first thought, when he saw Harris run and not follow the commands, was, "Oh my God, we are going to have to shoot him." 

He said he did not want that to happen. On the video, you can see Ramsey is very frustrated when finding out Bates shot Harris by accident. Ramsey said in the hundreds of operations, he has had many go bad, but never this bad - he's never had someone accidentally shot.

Deputy Ricardo Vaca was in on the bust of Eric Harris and was wearing the glasses that recorded the video of the arrest and shooting of Harris. He says he was parked next to Bates and another deputy about a quarter of a mile away from the gun buy and says he saw Bates nodding off, with his chin on his chest, briefly about 5-10 minutes before the takedown happened and everyone raced toward the scene and saw Harris running. 

Vaca testified he didn't mention that fact in his report afterward because it slipped his mind because he was so focused on the actual incident. He testified he is the one who tackled Harris and had his arms and legs wrapped around Harris, struggling with him, when Bates' fired the shot that hit Harris under his right armpit. 

Deputy Miranda Munson testified she had her gun pulled and was ready to shoot Harris if he pulled a gun or tried to grab Vaca's gun but neither happened.

Prosecutors are trying to show no one else fired their gun that day, despite it being chaotic and stressful.

Bates' attorney is trying to show Harris was a dangerous felon on the run, who continued to fight even after he was shot and told paramedics he was on PCP.

The attorney representing the Harris family sent out a statement saying he's concerned the jury is all white, and says he learned that six years ago, Bates' attorney donated $1,000 to the judge handling this case.

Harris' brother, Andre, says he's frustrated more in-depth questions aren't being asked about Bates' training and why he was even there. He says he's put his faith in God not the system.

Special Coverage: TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy