Robert Bates, the 74-year-old former Tulsa County Reserve Sheriff who shot and killed an unarmed Black man, Eric Harris, 44, was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison.
Judge William Musseman followed the jury’s recommendation for Bates to receive the maximum sentence in Harris’ death.
Bates was found guilty last month of second-degree murder for the April 2, 2015 gun sting operation in Tulsa, Oklahoma that left Harris dead. Harris was caught on video taking part in an illegal gun sales operation.
He was taken by surprise and ran from deputies, but eventually restrained and shot by Bates, who yelled, “Taser! Taser!” before discharging his firearm, reports NBC News. Bates later said, “I shot him. I’m sorry,” on camera. The former sheriff claimed he mistook his gun for his taser.
NBC News reports:
Following the shooting, an outside consultant hired to review the sheriff’s office determined that the agency suffered from a “system-wide failure of leadership and supervision” and had been in a “perceptible decline” for more than a decade. The reserve deputy program was later suspended.
An internal memo was released from 2009 by an attorney for Harris’ family that claimed supervisors knew Bates wasn’t skilled in training, but required others to look past it because of his relationship with the sheriff and the agency, according to NBC.
“Four years to me doesn’t seem like anything when you compare it to a lifetime,” said Cathy Fraley in an interview with Tulsa World. Fraley is the mother to Harris’ son Aidan Fraley.
Charlotte Bates also testified on her husband’s behalf. She said he was a “wonderful servant of this community,” and begged the judge in a tearful plea to refrain from sending her husband to jail, writes Tulsa World.
Ultimately Judge Musseman disagreed saying, “(Bates) found himself in that position because of his own decisions.”
31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody
1. Kathryn Johnston, 92Source:Getty 1 of 26
2. Tarika Wilson, 26Source:Getty 2 of 26
3. Shereese Francis, 30Source:Getty 3 of 26
4. Shantel Davis, 23Source:Getty 4 of 26
5. Alesia Thomas, 35Source:Getty 5 of 26
6. Malissa Williams, 30Source:Getty 6 of 26
7. Darnesha Harris, 17Source:Getty 7 of 26
8. Shelly Frey, 27Source:Getty 8 of 26
9. Miriam Carey, 34Source:Getty 9 of 26
10. Yvette Smith, 47Source:Getty 10 of 26
11. Michelle Cusseaux, 50Source:Getty 11 of 26
12. Aura Rosser, 40Source:Getty 12 of 26
13. Tanisha Anderson, 37Source:Getty 13 of 26
14. Eleanor Bumpurs, 66Source:Getty 14 of 26
15. Natasha McKenna, 37Source:Getty 15 of 26
16. Janisha Fonville, 20Source:Getty 16 of 26
17. Meagan Hockaday, 26Source:Getty 17 of 26
18. Alexia Christian, 25Source:Getty 18 of 26
19. Sandra Bland, 28Source:Getty 19 of 26
20. Gynnya McMillen, 16Source:Getty 20 of 26
21. Symone Marshall, 22Source:Getty 21 of 26
22. Korryn Gaines, 23Source:Getty 22 of 26
23. Deborah Danner, 66Source:Getty 23 of 26
24. Alteria Woods, 21Source:Getty 24 of 26
25. Charleena Lyles, 30Source:Getty 25 of 26
26. Cariann Denise Hithon, 22Source:Getty 26 of 26
Tulsa reserve sheriff sentenced to four years for fatally shooting unarmed Black manMan was originally published on newsone.com