April 13, 2015 7:21 pm -


An Oklahoma sheriff’s deputy was charged with manslaughter for killing a man after mistaking his stun gun for a real one.

Tulsa County prosecutors filed a second-degree manslaughter charge against 73-year-old Robert Bates.

A police investigator has said Bates, who is white, thought he drew a stun gun, not his handgun, when he fired at 44-year-old Eric Harris, who was black, in the April 2 incident.

Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter “involving culpable negligence,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a statement.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

5 responses to Cop Who Shot Gun By Mistake Charged With Manslaughter

  1. illinoisboy1977 April 13th, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Good. He was negligent, to the point that a man lost his life. There should be consequences for such circumstances.

    • whatthe46 April 13th, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      you don’t need to be a cop if you can’t tell the difference between a gun and a taser. furthermore, they aren’t even holstered the same. it was just an excuse.

  2. Winslow Bunny April 13th, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Charlie Pierce had a great story about this shooting (in Esquire) by Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, an honorary deputy and full-time insurance salesman who happened to be a longtime friend of the sheriff. Why an honorary deputy that old would be handed a pistol – a 73-year old one at that – gives further evidence that we have a big problem in our police departments these days.

    • Budda April 14th, 2015 at 9:31 am


      • FatRat April 14th, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Scary thing is that we don’t know how many millionaires are walking around with a gun and a badge. Sounds like some SNL skit where a Mr. Magoo / Thurston Howell the 3rd composite are keeping a watchful eye on the urban types.

        In addition to his political support for the sheriff, Bates has donated equipment to the department, including “a couple cars” in recent years, (Tulsa County Sheriff’s Maj. Shannon)Clark told The Times. He added, “He isn’t the only millionaire we’ve got” in the reserve program.

        He defended Bates’ participation in the department and played down his financial contributions.

        “You have to remember, this is Oklahoma,” Clark said, explaining that it’s not unusual for reserve deputies to make donations to the sheriff’s political campaign or to the department. “It’s their way of giving back. … Nobody would criticize if he gave to the Red Cross.”