Saturday 1 October 2016

Officer charged over shooting death

Published 13/04/2015 | 13:26

Reserve officer Bob Bates has said he thought he was using his Taser
Reserve officer Bob Bates has said he thought he was using his Taser

A white reserve police officer has been charged with manslaughter after a black man was fatally shot as he lay on the ground.

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Tulsa County prosecutors filed a second-degree manslaughter charge against 73-year-old Robert Bates, the latest shooting of an African-American by a white police officer to draw scrutiny.

Police treatment of minorities has become a major issue in the US after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and recently South Carolina.

A police investigator has said Bates thought he drew a stun gun, not his handgun, when he fired at 44-year-old Eric Harris in the shooting on April 2.

Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter "involving culpable negligence," Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a statement.

A video of the incident shot by deputies with sunglass cameras and released at the request of the victim's family, shows a deputy chase and tackle Harris, whom they said tried to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer.

As the deputy subdues Harris on the ground, a gunshot rings out and a man says: "Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry."

Harris was treated by medics at the scene and died in a Tulsa hospital.

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