A former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for the death of a suspect who was killed when the deputy inadvertently reached for his revolver instead of his taser.
Former Deputy Robert Bates was part of a sting operation in April of last year that centered around the sale of illegal firearms. After an illegal sale to undercover officers, authorities attempted to subdue and arrest the suspect, Eric Harris, a previously convicted felon who was barred from possessing firearms, but Harris fled from the scene and led authorities on a brief foot pursuit.
Officers eventually caught up with Harris and as they continued to struggle with him, Bates reached for what he thought was his taser, yelled, “Taser! Taser!” and pulled the trigger. Bates then realized the weapon he was holding was not the less-lethal taser, but his service revolver. Bates could be hear on body cam footage immediately apologizing for his mistake.
Harris, who was 44-years-old and left behind a wife and teen son, died from his injuries. An autopsy later revealed he had an underlying heart condition, as well as a large amount of methamphetamine in his system.
The investigation revealed Bates, a wealthy businessman, donated tens of thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and…