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​Deputy Who Fired Gun Instead of Taser Was Investigated in 2009

Robert Bates (left) and Eric Harris (Tulsa Police Department)
Robert Bates (left) and Eric Harris (Tulsa Police Department)

 

TULSA, Okla. (CBS News) – CBS News has learned that a 2009 investigation by the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office concluded that there were concerns over Robert Bates behavior in the field. Bates, a 73-year-old reserve deputy, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Eric Harris. Bates says he shot and killed Harris by mistake after pulling his gun instead of his taser.

Since the incident there have been allegations that Bates was not properly trained. CBS News learned that in 2009, the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office launched an internal investigation to find out if Bates received special treatment during training and while working as a reserve deputy. They also investigated whether supervisors pressured training officers on Bates’ behalf.

The investigation concluded Bates’ training was questionable and that he was given preferential treatment.

The investigation found that deputies voiced concerns about Bates’ behavior in the field, almost from the very beginning. Bates reportedly used his personal car while on duty and made unauthorized vehicle stops. When confronted Bates said that he could do what he wanted, and that anyone who had a problem with him should go see the sheriff.

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