Harris Family Happy With Investigation Approval, But Hoping For More

Tuesday, June 23rd 2015, 11:33 pm
By: News On 6

The group We the People collected more than enough signatures to launch a grand jury investigation into the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office and the April shooting death of Eric Harris by Reserve Deputy Bob Bates.

They needed 5,000 signatures, and Tuesday the election board verified more than 6,600 of them.

Organizers said their goal is for Sheriff Stanley Glanz to resign, but Harris' family said they want more.

They said they want the deputies involved in Eric Harris' death to be penalized, even charged, and that could come from a grand jury investigation.

The petition for a grand jury investigation into the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office was approved after 6,647 Tulsans sided with Andre Harris and his sons.

6/23/2015 Related Story: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Grand Jury Petition Signatures Verified

Since Bates shot and killed Eric Harris during a gun sting in April, Andre Harris has hoped his brother's death would shine a light on what he calls darkness and corruption in the sheriff's office.

Special Coverage: TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy

"It was said by an individual, 'We won't get 5,000.' Well, guess what? We got over 6,000," he said.

Marq Lewis with We the People Oklahoma started the petition, organized every protest and every signature drive, and Tuesday, he got the news he's waited for.

District Judge Rebecca Nightingale will convene a grand jury within a month, and now Lewis is trusting the process to get Glanz out of office.

“Policy violations or even something, maybe, possibly, illegal or something of that nature, we don't know, but what happens is, let's put it out on the table. What do we have to hide," he said.

Andre not only wants the sheriff out, he wants charges filed against Deputy Joseph Byars and Deputy Michael Huckeby.

"I think Mr. ‘F Your Breath' needs to have charges filed against him and also the gentleman that had his knee on my brother's neck," Andre said.

Eric Harris' story has been compared to Freddie Gray and Michael Brown. It's made Tulsa part of the national conversation and uncovered a special investigation report from 2009.

Andre thinks the grand jury investigation is the next chapter.

We tried to contact the sheriff's office spokesperson but have not heard back.

Bates will be in court for a hearing July 2nd.