TULSA, OK – Protesters in Tulsa used the shooting death of Eric Harris by a reserve deputy sheriff as an opportunity to demonstrate against police brutality.
But, it’s starting to look like corruption and not brutality is the issue.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is looking into allegations raised by the Tulsa World that someone in authority told supervisors to lie about the training received by 73-year-old Robert Bates, an insurance executive who contributed campaign money to the sheriff and equipment to the department.
Ziva Branstetter is one of the reporters on the story. “There are hundreds of hours that may have been falsified. At least three supervisors that our sources said were transferred were disciplined because they refused to sign off on training that Bates never received, including weapons training.”
Harris was the target of a sting operation on April 2. He was making a break for freedom when deputies caught up with him.
Bates was one of the first to get there. Investigators say Bates thought he was grabbing his Taser when he shot Harris in the back. And now there are questions about whether Bates should have been allowed to carry a weapon.
“The sheriff himself said they lost some of his handgun certification records and trying to figure out if he’s even certified,” Branstetter said.
Bates surrendered earlier this week, and now faces a charge of second-degree manslaughter in a case that may soon include coercion and corruption.