Warning: This video is extremely graphic.
*UPDATE* Reserve Deputy, Robert Bates has been charged with second degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence and will face possible jail time for fatally shooting unarmed Black man, Eric Harris.
Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement,“Mr Bates is charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter involving culpable negligence … the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do or the lack of ordinary care and caution.”
Before we could even properly mourn the loss of the latest unarmed Black man being shot and killed by police (in this case: Walter Scott), our worlds have been rocked by yet another graphic video displaying the final moments of unarmed Black man, Eric Harris’ life.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, it’s being reported that after chasing Eric Harris down following a sting operation, police had him on the ground, restrained. And one of the officers yelled at Harris,“You shouldn’t have f—–g ran!” as Harris is held down by his neck and head.
The White officer who pulled the trigger, Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73 shouted, “Taser! Taser!” before pulling the trigger on his gun, firing a round into Harris. “I shot him!” the former policeman says, dropping his gun. “I’m sorry.”
So killing Harris was a mistake and that’s the excuse the police are running with? And what is a reserve deputy, you may wonder? Well, it’s the same position held by actor, Steven Seagal, who essentially volunteers his time in the line of duty and made a reality show of it. Reserves are duly sworn law enforcement personnel who have trained to serve in a Law Enforcement capacity, but do so as a volunteer. Usually comprised of people who enjoy their current careers but are looking for additional ways to serve their local communities.
So, Bates is not a even real officer, but for some reason was “on the clock,” given a gun and allowed to shoot it.
Just let that sink in.
Not only that, but TulsaWorld is reporting that Bates donates thousands of dollars towards weapons and cars for special police task forces. Bates is basically paying to act as an officer of the law. This man is an insurance executive, volunteering his free time to act as a cop. It’s like this is a game, a hunt. It also sounds like George Zimmerman’s wet dream.
“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Eric Harris says as he struggles on the ground following the April 2 shooting, which flew under the radar until video emerged a week later.
“F— your breath,” a callous officer can be heard saying. “Shut the f— up!”
Eric Harris died about an hour after his violent interaction with the police. Reportedly, Harris was accosted by police after being caught trying to arrest him for selling a 9 mm. semiautomatic pistol and ammunition to undercover cops. Harris was unarmed at the time, but Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark claimed at a news conference that Harris was “absolutely a threat when going down.”
Sure, Eric Harris apparently led a criminal’s life, attempting to sell guns on the black market, but he didn’t deserve to die. The biggest issue here is the obvious superiority mindset that most White officers have against men of color–it’s hunting season and we’re the game.
Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey claims the arresting officers were not aware Harris had been shot, despite the loud noise a gun makes when it shoots and Bates’ eerie admission that he shot Harris and even said, “I’m sorry.”
Apparently, once they all realized Harris was shot, they called the proper medical authorities. Did they? Because the video shows callous cops holding down a dying man, disregarding his pleas of not being able to breathe.
Sgt. Dave Walker told the Tulsa World that police “would not investigate the death unless the sheriff’s office asked them to, and they have not asked us to.”
There should absolutely be an investigation opened up around this heinous case. Harris shouldn’t have run, but do we blame him? Black men are especially afraid of the police these days and there’s no telling if an encounter with them will leave you dead on the ground or not. And who knows, maybe Bates really did mistake his taser for his gun, but the actions after knowing Harris was shot, were unacceptable.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.