Harris Family Releases Statement After Tulsa Reserve Deputy Bonds Out

Tuesday, April 14th 2015, 12:53 pm
By: Richard Clark

The family of a man killed by a Tulsa County Sheriff's Office reserve deputy released a statement after the reserve deputy turned himself in on a second degree manslaughter charge Tuesday.

Bates posted a $25,000 bond and was released Tuesday morning.

4/14/2015: Related Story: Tulsa Reserve Deputy Turns Himself In For Manslaughter

Less than an hour later - the family of Eric Harris, the man the sheriff's office said Bates accidentally killed - released a statement:

Statement from family of Eric Harris, April 14, 2015:

We are pleased that the Tulsa County District Attorney has filed second degree manslaughter charges against Robert Bates. We applaud the District Attorney for his courage in taking the appropriate action based on the facts and the law. 

The filing of criminal charges against Mr. Bates is a necessary first step on the road to justice and for our family's healing process. At the same time, we know that there is a long road ahead. There remain many unanswered questions. And we will continue to fight until those questions are answered. We will continue to fight until justice is realized. 

We want to reiterate that there are many good deputies employed by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office (“TCSO”) who perform their jobs in the right way. However, the treatment of Eric on April 2 clearly shows that there is a deep-­seated problem within the TCSO. Sheriff Glanz's recent public statements also make it clear that he does not even see the problem, and has no plans to change the practices within the TCSO. While Sheriff  Glanz acknowledges that an “error” was made when Eric was killed, he has yet to even apologize to our family. Sheriff Glanz has not addressed the callous statements made by a deputy to Eric after he had been shot, such as “shut the f**k up” and “f**k your breath”. We have not heard Sheriff Glanz address the deputy who forcefully grinded Eric's head into the concrete with his knee while Eric was in need of emergency medical attention. We have yet to see any remorse on the part of the TCSO, or any indication that it is going to change its policies. The way in which Eric was treated by TCSO, and Sheriff Glanz's failure to recognize the problem, increases the disconnect between law enforcement and ordinary citizens. We believe that the leadership within the TCSO is flawed, and that all of Tulsa County deserves better. 

It is our mission to continue to fight on in Eric's memory until real and lasting changes are made. We want this to be Eric's legacy. Again, we asked that you all pray for justice and peace.