Former Oklahoma reserve deputy Robert Bates has been sentenced for the killing of an unarmed Black man in 2015, but the details of his sentencing are disappointing to many who followed the case.
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The 74-year-old former Tulsa PD employee faced a slew of criticism from the media and the Black community after claiming he mistook his revolver for his stun gun when he discharged the weapon and fatally shot Eric Courtney Harris in the back during a pursuit in April of last year. Bates was reportedly pursuing Harris in response to a sting operation set up to catch Harris illegally selling a firearm. According to CNN, Harris ran as deputies arrived to arrest him, which eventually led to Bates firing his weapon.
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A video of the incident hears Bates exclaim, “Oh! I shot him! I’m sorry!” seconds after Harris goes down. Bates worked for the Tulsa Police Department for one year back in the ’60s and had been a “reserve deputy” since 2008 at the time of the shooting, causing many to question why he was deemed qualified to hold the deputy position in the first place.
Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter and received the “maximum sentence” of four years during a hearing on Tuesday.
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