The Tulsa, OK reserve deputy who shot and killed Eric Harris is being charged with second degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence now that footage of the incident has surfaced, CNN reports. In the video, Robert Bates said he was going to use his taser and accidentally pulled out his gun and fired a shot, which killed Harris.
Bates’ lawyer, Scott Wood, said this incident should be considered an “excusable homicide.”
“We believe the video itself proves that it was an accident of misfortune that occurred while Deputy Bates was fulfilling his duties as a reserve deputy,” Wood said. “He is not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.”
Harris’ family wants Bates to questioned and are calling for an independent investigation. They reportedly want to know why Bates, who also owns an insurance company, was present during the sting operation that was going to result in Harris’ arrest.
“It’s absolutely mind boggling that you have a wealthy businessman who’s been essentially deputized to go play like he’s some outlaw, like he’s just cleaning up the streets,” said Daniel Smolen, the Harris family’s attorney.
Bates worked as an officer in the 1960s and had been a volunteer deputy since 2008 after completing 300 hours of training and 1,100 hours of community policing experience.
If convicted, Bates can serve up to four years in prison.