Serious concerns have been raised, following recent accusations involving Tulsa Sheriff’s Office. These come after reports revealed that there are doubts regarding the actions of a reserve deputy who shot a man that was unarmed earlier this month. These concerns came from an Oklahoma prosecutor, who made them public on Friday, the 24th of April, 2015.
It was on the same day that Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler stated that Tulsa Sheriff’s Office might be involved in other issues that are worth investigating regardless of the outcome of the current case, as new information has been recently submitted. He also expressed his concerns regarding recent accusations and said that further investigation is about to be carried out.
A few years ago many members of the Oklahoma sheriff’s department raised questions about the training of a volunteer deputy, Robert Bates, aged 73 who is now facing charges for shooting to death a suspect, Eric Harris, aged 44 on April 2. According to Bates’ report, he never meant to kill Eric Harris, whom he was chasing by foot, but he mistakenly pulled out his gun instead of his Taser, which he intended to use to stop the man. He pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in this case. The victim’s family said that the shooting does not result from a racial attitude (Eric Harris was black).
Robert Bates has been serving as an insurance agent for Sheriff Stanley Glanz for over 25 years. He was also his campaign manager in 2012 and is also the sheriff’s close friend.
According to reports dating back to 2009, Bates, who had been with the Sheriff’s Office for less than a year, displayed inappropriate behavior on more than one occasion. He argued with a dispatcher, he conducted traffic stops without having the proper training to do so and used personal vehicle while he was on duty. The report also mentions that the captain Tom Huckeby and Tim Albin, the chief deputy asked other employees to make rectifications in Bates’ reviews. A few of them would have revealed that the deputy failed to complete entry tests and lacked training hours. Some department members often questioned Bates’ skill and capacity to do the job but they were asked not to say anything.
Representatives of the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation but they denied having falsified Bates’ training records. According to them they never authorized the release of the report concerning the reserve deputy but its existence stands as proof of the office’s willingness to examine the allegations, even if they failed to do anything about it at the time.
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