Tulsa Reserve Cop Gets Manslaughter Charge for ‘Inadvertent’ Killing

By Julianne Hing Apr 13, 2015

Robert Bates, a 73-year-old white Tulsa, Okla. volunteer reserve deputy, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting Eric Harris, ABC reported. Harris, a black man who was unarmed at the time, later died. 

Video of the April 2 shooting was released over the weekend. In it, Harris yells out after being shot: "He shot me. He shot me. Oh my God. I’m losing my breath," to which a police officer responds, "You shouldn’t have fucking ran! Fuck your breath."

Bates allegedly mistook his firearm for a Taser, and shot Harris when he meant to stun him, the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office agreed. "You can tell it was inadvertant, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Maj. Shannon Clark told ABC. "The gun popped out of his hand. He wasn’t expecting a recoil."

The criminal charges against Bates and footage of Harris’ death come just days after North Charleston, S.C. police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder for killing Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man who, too, was unarmed. Video of Scott’s killing was released last week.