(Another) Unarmed Black Man Gunned Down In Oklahoma; Officer Says It Was A Mistake

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While people are still mourning the brutal killing of Walter L. Scott, an unarmed black man who was murdered by a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina just last week, yet another video has emerged in which a white police officer bound an unarmed black man and shot him in the head in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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The officer, identified as Robert Bates, said he used his gun instead of a taser and that it was a mistake that he committed the heinous crime. The victim has been identified as Eric Courtney Harris. The footage of the shooting was captured on another deputy’s body camera.

The footage was said to have been posted by the police department. In the video, the victim is seen running down a street away a pursuing police car. An officer then runs up to him, catches him, bounds him while on the ground and then shoots him in the heard.

Thereafter, the victim starts moaning in pain and crying while other police officers approach the scene and try to resuscitate him.

“He shot me!” Harris shouts several times, and then says, “Oh my God, I’m losing my breath.” But one of the officers is heard telling him, “Fuck your breath!”

For Bates, who fired the gun, he starts to plea for mercy in the video. “I shot him. I’m sorry,” Bates’ voice appears to say in the video. Bates was named the town’s ‘Reserve Deputy of the Year’ in 2011, according to the Sheriff’s Office website.

Despite the medical aid administered, Harris later died at the hospital. The incident has heightened tension in Tulsa and across the US. A week ago, a white officer in South Carolina shot and killed an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, who tried to escape a traffic stop due to a broken tail light.

Massive public protests were held last year in Ferguson, Missouri where white police officers shot dead two unarmed black men — Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The officers escaped indictment.

Thousands marched in the streets across the US in what they described as racist and discriminatory attitude of the police toward black suspects. In March of this year, the Justice Department said in a report that it has found systemic overly-aggressive policing for municipal code violations with blatant racial bias against black people in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Meanwhile, Tulsa County District Attorney has said that Bates has been officially charged for the crime committed. “Mr. Bates is charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter involving culpable negligence,” Tulsa County District Attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, said in a statement.

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According to the District Attorney’s office, even if Bates is convicted he would only face a maximum of four years in prison and a fine that would not exceed $1,000.

The Oklahoma law defines culpable negligence as, “the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions.”

The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.

Bates has so far refused to comment on the situation, despite several attempts by local media outlets in Tulsa to try and get him to elaborate more on the incident.

“It was me. My attorney has advised me not to comment. As much as I would like to, I can’t,” he told Tulsa World.

Eric Courtney Harris was said to be a convicted felon. According to a police report on the incident, he was being detained after being caught selling a weapon to an undercover officer. Over the last 10 years, Harris had six criminal felony cases and a Misdemeanor-1 case filed against him: he made threatening phone calls, escaped a penal institution in 1990, and carried out an armed robbery. Most recently, Harris had come to the attention of police for suspected crystal meth distribution.

It is believed the incident happened early this month but it is unclear why the police kept it secret until the video was made public.


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15 COMMENTS

  1. “Massive public protests were held last year in Ferguson, Missouri where white police officers shot dead two unarmed black men — Michael Brown and Eric Garner”

    The way this is worded makes it appear that both men were from Ferguson. Mr. Garner was from New York City

    • Michael Brown was a thug who robbed a store and attacked the clerk then attacked a police officer, trying to take his weapon from him while he was in his cruiser. He got exactly what he asked for. All the witnesses lied about what happened, go figure. Mystic, this guy was selling stolen guns to people. He didnt drive his legally tagged vehicle up to do this, and he was a repeat offender. The old officer may have discharged his weapon by accident, however, the end result is another piece of criminal garbage, selling stolen guns to other criminals, is now off the streets for good. I see this as a positive thing.

      • Let me take a wild uneducated guess… : You’re CAUCASIAN/WHITE?

        I have a gut feeling that I’m correct! Hmmm…

  2. I don’t even understand any of this… Even assuming it was a traffic stop for a broken tail light.. IF they just let him run away, they’d still have his car, license plate, etc. They’d know where he lives and the value of the car is very likely much higher than the value of the ticket for the stop… So under what circumstances was it necessary to pull out his gun? He wasn’t attacking anyone. He wasn’t a murderer. He had a broken tail light. So let him fearfully run away from the cops? What harm is there? They can send the ticket to his address and hold his car if they want to but what the fuck reason is there to put him down on the ground and shoot him? Is there no protocol or oversight when it comes to police interactions? Like if someone stole a paperclip and runs away from the cops. Are they gonna shoot him if he doesn’t stop? Or is there any kind of protocol that says, well… that paper clip costs 1cent… let him run, it doesn’t even matter. They take nothing and blow it so far out of proportion that they feel justified to shoot and kill someone..? The paperclip thing is one thing… they have no way of retrieving that 1cent.. but the tail light.. they have his freaking CAR! And with it, his address, name, phone number, everything.. What the hell are they so frantic about?

    • Mystic, he wasn’t able to just run because cops nowadays feel they are allowed to escalate their violence on the populace because they have a badge. Its time for the people to rise up and to start taking matters into their own hands. If our elected officials refuse to fix it, then WE will fix it. Sure, doing things this way will get ugly, but our forefathers wrote our constitution to help prevent what we are seeing today. Rise up and demand change or we MUST change it for the better. The police must be held accountable and they must be recorded everytime you see one. Do not take a chance with them as they are the USA’s ISIS. They are a uniformed crime syndicate. They dish out punishment on the people. WE MUST FIX THIS NOW!

      • You are crazy if you compare police to ISIS. Last time I’ve checked, police haven’t beheaded people or burn people alive due to their religion.

        • and did u no Brian that Isis was created by the CIA?…. Guess what countries CIA …. The USAs …. And by the way Tom I agree 100% with you the people need to stand up and fight for what they believe in or our country is just gonna be a police state…..

          • Yes, this convicted felon selling stolen guns to the police is an innocent person.. give it a rest dude. The guy was a piece of garbage and society is glad he is gone. Michael Brown was a thug who robbed a store and attacked a police officer. He also got what he deserved. Where is this innocence you whine about?????

      • He wasnt able to run because he was a dangerous felon. You think he was gonna run home, sit down, watch tv and wait for a knock on the door? He was a dangerous, armed criminal. You all sit and cry and whine like idiots when these types of people are exactly the type of people you want the police to go after. There is no need to rise up and change anything, unless you are going to rise up and demand that criminals stop being criminals…. and that isnt going to happen. Tom, you are a moron. Stop crying and playing armchair whiner. Until you put on a badge and have the nerve to put your life on the line every day for people you dont know, you have zero clue what it is like to be a police officer, leaving you in NO position to judge what they deem necessary in a situation. Btw, you wont FIX anything. Be stupid and you will just end up in jail.

  3. Had this violent gun selling felon not run he wouldnt have gotten shot.. I say, good riddens to this piece of garbage. Wont be selling guns to other criminals anymore… Ya, the same criminals that rob your homes, you, rape your wife, etc. You all sit and cry for the criminals of our society. You people are screwed in the head and have things a little backwards.

  4. Btw, the cleraly anti police article is so wrong. The officer that accidentally shot this man did NOT bind him then shoot him in the head. You people are so stupid that you cant tell a story accurately. He was shot in the side, not the head and he wasnt even in handcuffs yet. Get it right if you are going to try to inflame people with your ignorance.

  5. The article is all wrong. They man that shot him was in his seventies and he was a reserve sheriff. the weapon he was carrying not OK’d by the police department.it was clearly an accident but this should have never happened that man should have never been Given a gun or a badge. the only reason he was allowed to be reserve officer was because he had given a large donation to the citys police department. it was wrong and the city should be held accountable. The man didnt deserve to die and the actions of the police afterwards were appalling.

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