According to a report from Tulsa World, the reserve deputy who shot and killed an unarmed Eric Harris this Thursday in Oklahoma, is part of a wealthy group of donors who make large contributions to the department in exchange for getting to ride along and “play cop.”
Robert Bates, 73, claims he accidentally shot Harris after he fled from arrest of an undercover gun and ammunition buy, and then fought with a deputy who tackled him. Bates allegedly thought he was holding a stun gun when he pulled the trigger.
Before Bates was a reserve deputy, he served one year, from 1964 to 1965, as a police officer, according to a statement from Tulsa police.
Bates is not compensated for his time assisting the sheriff’s department. He is classified as an “advanced reserve,” meaning he “can do anything a full-time deputy can do,” said Maj. Shannon Clark.
“Although he had training and experience for the arrest team, he’s not assigned to the arrest team,” Clark said of Bates’ role. “He came to render aid during the altercation, but he’s in a support role during the operation. That means keeping notes, doing counter-surveillance, things like that.”
After completing 320 hours of training with CLEET (the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) as well as have completed 480 hours of the TCSO Field Training Officer Program, an “advanced” reserve can “perform normal field duties by themselves and without the direct supervision of a certified deputy,” according to Reserve Deputy Program policy.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office still hasn’t decided whether or not they will press charges against Bates.
Featured image via The Raw Story.