In April of this year, Eric Harris — an African-American man — was shot and killed by a white police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The police alleged that he attempted to sell an illegal pistol to an undercover police officer.
The officer who fired the shot then claimed he accidentally pulled the trigger, confusing it with his taser.
He was later supported by the Tulsa Sheriffs who released a statement two days after the incident, claiming Harris had struggled when the deputy tried to restrain him.
“During the rapidly evolving altercation, the reserve deputy had what he believed was his taser from his tactical carrier and attempted to render aid in subduing the suspect. Initial reports have determined that the reserve deputy was attempting to use less lethal force, believing he was utilizing a taser, when he inadvertently discharged his service weapon, firing one round which struck Harris,” the statement said.
But raw footage of the incident, first posted by the New York Daily News and later republished by The Mirror, revealed that the deputy, Robert Bates, deliberately shot and killed Harris, exposing the officer for taking an innocent life.
In the video, Eric was seen trying to get away from the police and posed no threat to them. He was then given a hot chase, caught and shot. After shooting him, the officers then crushed his head on the hard concrete of the pavement, pinning him tight to the ground.
Harris can be heard shouting, “He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath!” One of the officers then replied, “F*ck your breath!”
Filming Cops, commenting on the incident said, “The footage is worse than anybody could have possibly imagined as it revealed a horrifying glimpse into the psyche of police officers in the US.”
It is said that the video was obtained after Harris’ family pressed the Tulsa Police Department to release the footage for the public to know the truth about the gory incident. Since the release of the video, it has reignited outrage over police brutality towards minorities across the US.
Robert Bates is said to be an insurance executive but was working as a Violent Crimes reserve deputy in Oklahoma. It is said there are doubts over his training in handling weapons.
Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who had received a $2,500 donation from Bates during his 2012 reelection campaign for the sheriff office, commenting on Bates’ knowledge in the use of the revolver used in the killing said, “That is something we’re still looking at and it will be part of the administrative review.”
Already, the FBI has cleared Bates of violating Harris’ civil rights and it is believed there are no plans to further investigate the incident.
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