State Investigating Tulsa Sheriff's Office After Eric Harris Killing

by Alex Johnson /  / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

State investigators are now looking into the Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Sheriff's Office after the fatal shooting of Eric Harris, an unarmed black man, by 73-year-old Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, authorities confirmed Monday.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, or OSBI, said it opened a formal inquiry Friday at the request of Okmulgee County District Attorney O.R. Barris, the special prosecutor investigating the fatal April 2 shooting.

NBC News reported last month that a 2009 report revealed that Bates, a longtime friend and political supporter of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, got preferential treatment at the sheriff's office and didn't complete certain training required of other deputy sheriffs.

The report found that two senior sheriff's officials, Undersheriff Tim Albin and Maj. Tom Huckeby, fostered a culture of intimidation if other employees raised concerns about Bates' lack of training hours or skill.

The shooting of Harris — and other allegations of misconduct that emerged in its aftermath — have rocked the sheriff's office.

Bates, who says he thought he grabbed his Taser but actually grabbed his handgun while he was pursuing Harris, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. Glanz announced that he wouldn't seek re-election.

Albin and Huckeby resigned. Maj. Shannon Clark, the department's chief spokesman, was fired last week. And Monday, Capt. Bill McKelvey was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into his supervision of Clark, NBC station KJRH of Tulsa reported.

The OSBI said Barris would ultimately decide what to do with whatever it finds out.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news