Oklahoma Reserve Deputy Convicted in Fatal 2015 Shooting of Eric Harris
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

A former Oklahoma reserve deputy faces four years in prison for the shooting death of Eric Harris.

A jury found Robert Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the April 2015 fatal shooting of Harris, reports NPR. At the time of the shooting, Bates was a volunteer deputy who accompanied officers on their arrest of the victim, who was accused of selling an unlicensed gun.

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According to the district attorney, officers had Harris restrained when Bates approached the altercation, holding a taser in one hand and a gun in the other. He fired a single shot, striking Harris and missing another deputy’s head by inches. Bates claims that he thought he was discharging his taser.

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The fatal shooting has spurred a discussion on whether volunteer policing should be permitted.

“Law enforcement is one of the few professions that allows people to play at the profession,” said Missouri Police Chief Ray Johnson.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 31.


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