The Tulsa volunteer sheriff’s deputy who killed an unarmed black man last year will head to trial in April—after local police allegedly pressured the victim’s family not to lawyer up.
Days after a Tulsa volunteer sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an unarmed black man, he knocked the local newspaper in his resignation letter, accusing reporters of targeting him with “yellow dog journalism.”
Robert Bates vowed to eventually “unload the truth” about the day he killed Eric Harris, who died while being handcuffed last year.
That chance may soon come, as the 74-year-old former reserve deputy heads to trial in April —one year after he allegedly mistook his personal handgun for a Taser and fatally fired into the 44-year-old Harris during a gun-buy sting operation. Bates said it was an accident when he blasted Harris in the back at close range, as Harris was on the ground and being subdued by officers.
Now the elderly insurance executive-turned-police volunteer is facing second-degree manslaughter. The deadly encounter was one of several police-involved deaths in 2015 that attracted the ire of Black Lives Matter protesters, who accused law enforcement nationwide of using excessive and lethal force against minority suspects.
“The Tulsa World is obviously attempting to take me down,” Bates wrote in his resignation. “The paper is guilty of ‘yellow dog journalism’ at the least. As you are aware, none of their reporting has been the least bit factual.
“I have only been able to tell my story on a limited basis. Hopefully, at some point I can unload the truth,” he added.
At a hearing Monday, Bates’ attorneys discussed how to select jurors who haven’t already made up their minds about the high-profile case—where even the tiniest details have played out in Oklahoma press on a near weekly basis.
Source: The Daily Beast | KATE BRIQUELET